Ohio University

George Voinovich

George V. Voinovich

George Victor Voinovich (July 15, 1936 – June 12, 2016) was a former United States Senator from the state of Ohio. He also served as the 65th Governor of Ohio from 1991 to 1998, and as the 54th mayor of Cleveland from 1980 to 1989.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Ohio University in 1958 and received a law degree in 1961 from The Ohio State University. He was also a part of the fraternity Phi Kappa Tau at Ohio University. He married his wife, Janet, in 1962. They had four children: George, Betsy, Peter and Molly, as well as nine grandchildren.

Voinovich began his political career in 1963 as an assistant attorney general of Ohio. He then served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971. From 1971 to 1976, he served as county auditor of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In 1975, he made an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination for Mayor of Cleveland against incumbent Mayor Ralph J. Perk. From 1977 to 1978, he served as a member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners.

In 1978, Voinovich was elected lieutenant governor on the ticket with James A. Rhodes, as the first Ohio lieutenant governor not to be elected separately from the governor. In 1990, Voinovich was nominated by the Republicans to replace Governor Richard F. Celeste, a Democrat who was barred from running for a third consecutive term. In that race, Voinovich defeated Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr. In 1991, Voinovich served as the Chairman of the Midwestern Governors Association. In 1994, Voinovich was re-elected to the governorship, in a massive landslide. He won 72% of the vote.

Voinovich's tenure as governor saw Ohio's unemployment rate fall to a 25-year low. The state created more than 500,000 new jobs. Under Voinovich, Ohio was ranked number one in the nation by Site Selection Magazine for new and expanding business facilities.

In 1998, barred from running for a third term as governor due to term limits, Voinovich set his eyes on the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by long-time incumbent Democrat John Glenn. Voinovich, who had run for senate unsuccessfully in 1988, won the race, defeating Democrat Mary O. Boyle. On January 11, 2009, Voinovich's aides reported that he had decided to retire from the Senate rather than seek reelection in 2010.

Voinovich is the only person to have served as both chairman of the National Governors Association and president of the National League of Cities.

  • Behind the Images: Sighting Process

    Merry Foresta helped to create and direct an interdisciplinary project between the Voinovich School of Public Affairs and the School of Visual Communi...
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  • George V. Voinovich's Legacy of Public Service

    On December 7, 2016, Ohio Governor John R. Kasich, Senate President Keith Faber, Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger, Senate Minority Leader Joe Sc...
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  • Senator Sherrod Brown Discusses the Legacy of Senator Voinovich

    U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown discusses the legacy of the late Ohio Governor and U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich.  ...
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