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Betty Sutton becomes second Democrat to announce for Ohio governor

By RANDY LUDLOW • Mar 7, 2017 at 2:00 PM

COLUMBUS  (TNS) — Pledging to "fight for ordinary Ohioans," former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton plans to announce her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor today.

“Ohioans need a champion, a champion who will work for them and make government work for and with them,” Sutton told The Columbus Dispatch on Monday.

The former three-term U.S. House member and four-term Ohio House member from the Akron suburb of Barberton will become the second announced candidate for the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

The daughter of a boilermaker and a library worker said, “I have spent my entire life standing up for working men and women. ... I’ll be a governor who stands up to the powerful interests and helps working families.”

Sutton said that creating jobs that provide “family-sustaining wages” and improving Ohio's K-12 education system would top her list of priorities if she is elected Ohio's CEO.

“It’s time for a change of priorities in Ohio. A focus on creating jobs and opportunities for working families instead of just giving tax breaks to the privileged is something I’ve been fighting for my entire life,” she said.

Sutton was first elected to the U.S. House in 2006, then won twice more before losing by 4 percentage points to Republican incumbent Jim Renacci, of Wadsworth, in 2012 when GOP-authored redistricting threw them into the same district.

In 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Sutton administrator of the Washington D.C.-based St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., a position from which she recently resigned with the change of administrations. The agency operates and maintains the U.S. part of the St. Lawrence Seaway between the Port of Montreal and Lake Erie.

She served in the Ohio House from 1993 through 2000 and on the Barberton City Council in 1991 and '92. Sutton, 53, holds a legal degree but does not practice law.

Ohio Senate Majority Leader Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, became the first announced Democratic candidate for governor last week in declaring his desire to succeed John Kasich when the Republican finishes his second and final term.

Other Democrats, such as Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former state Rep. Connie Pillich of Cincinnati and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rich Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general and state treasurer, also could be in the mix for governor.

The Republican race appears likely to draw at least four candidates: state Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Renacci. DeWine, Husted and Taylor will be forced from their current offices by the eight-year term limits for statewide executive officeholders.

Sutton declined to comment on whether she is committed to a potential gubernatorial primary or would have interest in seeking a down-ticket statewide office in 2018.

rludlow@dispatch.com

@RandyLudlow

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(c)2017 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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