COLUMBUS - Gov. Ted Strickland pegged University of Toledo graduate and Columbus City Councilman Kevin Boyce yesterday to serve as Ohio's top banker and broker, completing the game of musical chairs begun in May with the post-scandal resignation of former Attorney General Marc Dann.
As state treasurer, Mr. Boyce would become the first black Democrat to serve in statewide executive office, serving the two years left in the term of Richard Cordray. Voters elected Mr. Cordray on Nov. 4 to complete the two years left in Mr. Dann's term.
"Growing up in Columbus to a single mother gave me a real understanding of the value of a dollar," said Mr. Boyce, 37, as his wife and children watched. "It was instilled in me by my mother and my grandmother as we tried to stay on top of the bills.
"I remember asking my grandmother to help purchase a pair of sneakers for me," he said. "She said OK and promptly took me in her car to the local grocery store to fill out a job application as a bagger. The message: If you want the shoes, you have to earn them yourself. But more than the purchase of the sneakers was what I learned, that a penny saved is a penny earned."
The appointment will take effect on Jan. 6 after Mr. Cordray officially steps down to be sworn in as attorney general.
"I have no doubt that as treasurer, Kevin will serve as a responsible steward of our state funds, and I look forward to working with him as together we tackle enormous economic challenges facing our state," said Mr. Strickland.
Mr. Boyce went to UT on a track scholarship, earning a degree in political science in 1995. The Columbus native was soon recruited by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to serve as Toledo's youth program coordinator, but it wasn't long before Mr. Boyce headed for home to serve as chief of staff for then state Rep. Jack Ford (D., Toledo).
"He was a student of mine in political science at UT," said Mr. Ford. "He came in as a student new to political science, and he took to it like a baby does to food. He would stay after class every night bugging me with questions to the point that it became a little bit of a pain. He'd walk me to my car asking me questions about this or that. He was deeply interested in politics, and we struck up pretty much a father-son relationship."
Mr. Boyce became a Columbus councilman in 2000. He earned a master's degree in public administration from Central Michigan University in 2004.
Generally a low-profile office, the state treasurer manages all banking functions for the state and oversees an investment portfolio averaging $18 billion.
"Ohioans need confidence in this uncertain economy that their investments are being properly managed, and I'm not sure this appointment does that," said Ohio Republican Party Deputy Chairman Kevin DeWine.
"It's hard to believe that a two-term city councilman is the most qualified person the governor could find to safeguard Ohio's tax dollars," he said. "The last time the Democrats ignored qualifications and experience we ended up with Marc Dann in the attorney general's office."
Mr. Boyce said he will seek election to a full four-year term as treasurer in 2010 at the same time that Mr. Strickland and Mr. Cordray will be on the ballot seeking re-election. If voters agree, he could serve two four-year terms in addition to the two years to which Mr. Strickland appointed him yesterday.
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