COLUMBUS — Gubernatorial hopeful Joe Schiavoni on Tuesday became the first Democrat to announce his running mate, a fellow charter school accountability hawk from the State Board of Education.
Mr. Schiavoni, state senator from the Youngstown area, picked Stephanie Dodd, of Licking County, who has served as an elected member of the state board since 2013. Her current term will end in 2020. She represents the Republican-friendly 9th District east of Columbus, including Appalachian counties.
In addition to reinforcing Mr. Schiavoni’s focus on charter school accountability, she has been a critic of the state’s heavy reliance on standardized testing and voiced support for other methods of judging students’ worthiness of graduation.
“I was the first to run for governor, and I wanted to be the first out of the gate on our side to announce my lieutenant governor,” Mr. Schiavoni said. “Time is of the essence. We need to get [candidate petition] signatures and get Stephanie out in the 88 counties like I have been. Now we have two people working instead of one.”
She brings gender and some geographic balance to a ticket that has tried to break out from a crowded Democratic field.
Ms. Dodd was born in Zanesville and lives with her husband, former state Rep. Dan Dodd, and their children in Buckeye Lake, about 30 miles east of Columbus.
She worked in the banking industry as a financial analyst, having earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Cincinnati.
“My state board district has all or part of 13 counties,” Ms. Dodd said. “I was born and raised in southern Ohio. I have strong name recognition in my district. The issues that I’ve tackled on the state board have raised my name ID among superintendents, teachers, and others all across Ohio.”
She also brings fund-raising expertise to the ticket. She worked for former Time Warner Cable in government relations and finance and was involved in political action committee fund-raising. She owns SLD Consulting, which now focuses on fund-raising, development, and event planning for non-profit organizations.
Mr. Schiavoni said candidates have to earn name recognition.
“That’s what I’ve been doing every day,” he said. “I’ve known Stephanie Dodd since I started in politics in 2009. Her husband was a state representative at that point. She’s a hard-working person who’s always done everything for herself in life.
“She was the first generation of her family to go to college,” Mr. Schiavoni said. “She put herself through college ... She works really hard for her district.”
Also running on the Democrats’ side this year to replace Republican Gov. John Kasich are Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former federal consumer watchdog Richard Cordray, former Akron area congressman Betty Sutton, Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill, and former Cincinnati state representative Connie Pillich.
Running on the Republican side are Attorney General Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, and northeast Ohio U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci. Mr. DeWine has selected Secretary of State Jon Husted as his running mate while Mr. Renacci has picked Cincinnati councilwoman Amy Murray.
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