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Published: Thursday, 1/12/2006

Ohio Dems in House elect woman to lead them


COLUMBUS - House Democrats yesterday unanimously elected their first woman minority leader, Rep. Joyce Beatty of Columbus, to replace Rep. Chris Redfern (D., Catawba Island).

He was recently elected chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. Although he plans to keep his House seat, he has surrendered his leadership post.

Rep. Todd Book, a Portsmouth attorney, was elected to fill the void as assistant minority leader created by Ms. Beatty's promotion. Mr. Book and Rep. Michael Skindell of Lakewood had also expressed interest in the top Democratic post, but ultimately Ms. Beatty's name was the only one placed before members, according to caucus spokesman John Kohlstrand.

Ms. Beatty can seek re-election one more time this fall to her House seat. She replaced her term-limited husband, Otto Beatty, Jr., in the chamber. Between them, they've held the inner-city Columbus seat for 25 years.

She has a bachelor's degree in speech from Central State University, a master's in counseling psychology from Wright State University, and a doctorate from the University of Cincinnati and Pacific Western University.

Republicans outnumber Democrats in the chamber 60-39.

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