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Published: Sunday, 10/27/2002

Tavares cites experience as state legislator


COLUMBUS - Four years ago, Democrat Charleta Tavares ran for secretary of state and lost to Republican Ken Blackwell.

Now she's competing with Republican Jennette Bradley to become the nation's first black, female lieutenant governor. Both are Columbus city council members and both believe they're qualified for the job.

Ms. Tavares said one of the reason is the lessons she learned by running statewide in 1998.

“This is a giant step,” she said. “It takes a lot of time and energy to get out there and get your message across. I also learned that it takes a lot of [campaign] money. I still believe too much money is spent and people have gotten lazy.

“It's easier to spend millions of dollars on television and not go and visit the counties. People are crying out for their officials to spend some time with them, especially in the small, rural counties. They feel like they are taken for granted,” she said.

From 1988 to 1992, Ms. Tavares was associate director of the Public Children Services Association, a job she said gave her a look at the legislative role from the advocate's side and gave her experience working with officials in all 88 counties.

After serving as chief of the children's protection section for Attorney General Lee Fisher, Ms. Tavares succeeded her mentor, state Rep. Ray Miller, when he stepped down. She was elected to the House in 1994 and 1996.

After losing to Mr. Blackwell in 1998, she was appointed to Columbus city council.

She said her experience as a state legislator, working for the attorney general's office on children's issues, and her track record on city council qualify her to become lieutenant governor, and governor if need be.

“Not everybody understands the state budget and policy development,” she said.

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