U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley, left, swears in Kevin Boyce as wife Crystal, and sons Kristopher and Kevin, Jr., watch.
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COLUMBUS - With a pair of oaths, Ohio Democrats yesterday hoped they'd closed the chapter on scandal in the state attorney general's office.
Former Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray raised his right hand to take the oath to complete the two years left in the term of former Attorney General Marc Dann.
Moments later, the game of musical chairs begun with Mr. Dann's resignation in May was completed with the swearing in of Kevin Boyce, a former Columbus city councilman and University of Toledo graduate. He replaced Mr. Cordray as treasurer.
Watching the passing of the torch were such recent attorneys general as Mr. Cordray's immediate but temporary predecessor, Nancy Rogers; Republicans Betty Montgomery and Jim Petro, and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher.
No one mentioned him by name, but Mr. Dann's legacy was present just the same.
Richard Cordray seals his oath to become Ohio's attorney general with a kiss to his son Danny, as his wife, Peggy, and David Pepper, master of ceremonies, look on.
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"The moment I uttered [Nancy Rogers'] name as the new attorney general, a sense of integrity was restored to the office of Ohio's attorney general, and I thank Nancy Rogers for doing that for all of us," Gov. Ted Strickland said.
He appointed the dean of Ohio State University's law school to replace Mr. Dann after his forced resignation in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal in the office. Never a candidate for election, she served as the state's top lawyer over the ensuing months as it dealt with simultaneous investigations by various agencies.
Mr. Cordray said his actions as attorney general will be "marked by the utmost respect for justice" and dedicated to the constitutional principles of equal protection and due process under the law.
"Ultimately, the people are our clients," he said. "Their needs form our agenda, and their judgment upon our work will measure our success. That is the task before us, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to take it on."
The transfer of power in the treasurer's office really had occurred at the end of business Tuesday with the signing of certain documents. But Mr. Boyce, once an aide to then-state Rep. Jack Ford (D., Toledo), took his oath yesterday for the job.
"We know that families around the state of Ohio are facing foreclosure and mounting credit card debt," he said. "Our businesses are facing frozen credit markets, depriving them of the capital they need to grow and create jobs.
"Let there be no mistake, the financial health of any neighborhood, or your local neighborhood store, builds or diminishes your own personal wealth," he said. "That's why it's important to all of our economic futures that we give people and businesses the tools to succeed so that tomorrow can be better than today."
As the newest Democrat on the statewide office block, Mr. Boyce may have the biggest target on his back when all statewide elected officials run in 2010. One potential Republican opponent is state Sen. Jon Husted (R., Kettering), formerly speaker of the Ohio House.
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