Cleveland, Ohio, and America lose a great man -- George Voinonvich


George Voinovich won his first elective office by taking a strong stand against a Fair Housing law. Years later, as mayor of Cleveland, he signed into law a strong Fair Housing law. Some would label this as a "flip-flop." To George Voinovich, it was plain common sense. Times had changed, and he had changed with them. Unlike so many ideologues of both the right and left, especially today, George Voinovich was willing to compromise.

Today's Republican politicians are not like most of their fathers and grandfathers. Most of today's Republican politicians label compromise as surrender. Not so, George Voinovich. As an officer in the Ohio Federation of Teachers, I fully supported endorsing George Voinovich for Governor of Ohio in the 1990 campaign. When comparing his proposals on education with those of the Democratic candidate, there was no contest. I recall that Voinovich had a detailed plan to improve education and educational funding for Ohio's schools. It appeared as though his opponent's camp had spent little time constructing a plan for public education. Reading through it, there was nothing new or dynamic. It was written as though no teachers' union would ever consider endorsing the Republican. Since the Ohio Federation of Teachers did endorse Voinovich, and he won, for the first four years of his administration, not only did the OFT have a direct line to Columbus, but other unions often contacted the OFT President, Ronald Marec, to help them get their voices heard by the Voinovich Administration.
And, unlike so many politicians, George Voinovich was honest, almost to a fault. When we were considering whether or not to endorse him for re-election in 1994, he let the OFT know that he was going to champion the idea of funneling even more money into private education via school vouchers. We did not endorse him that year.
As a United States Senator, George Voinovich was a fiscal conservative, and not only opposed many of the spending bills in Congress, but even called the initial tax cut proposals from W's Administration fiscally irresponsible. To his last days as a U.S. Senator, Voinovich consistently and persistently opposed fiscal policies which ballooned the overall national debt, whether such proposals were from Democrats or his fellow Republicans.
I had the honor and privilege to meet George Voinovich and shake his hand. I could look him dead in the eye, and I saw a man of incredible integrity. He and I disagreed on many things, not the least of which was his campaign's fallacious attack on then Senator Howard Metzenbaum in Voinovich's first attempt to be elected to the U.S. Senate, and his only loss in a statewide election. But, his overall service to Cleveland, as its mayor, to Ohio as its governor, and to the United States and his beloved homelands in central Europe as a United States Senator, overshadow his faults. We are all better off as a state, a nation, and a world to have had George Voinovich as one of us, and as one of our leaders. He was a voice of reason, and a man who, for the most part, placed his fellow human beings above his own ambitions. It would be to our benefit if the future brings us more leaders like George!
Here's a link to a Cleveland site with comments about George Voinovich. Embedded in it is another link to his obituary. IMHO -- Both are well worth reading.

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In contrast to George Voinovich who put humanity first, just after the killings in a nightclub which caters to the LGBT community, this was posted by Texas Lieutenant-Governor Dan Patrick, (not the sports personality): "At precisely 7 a.m. Sunday Dan Patrick tweeted a photo with the words of Galatians 6:7. The verse reads, 'Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.'" This appears to align Patrick with a Muslim extremist.
Now, Patrick's office claims that this was posted independent of the mass killings; that it was planned by some recent revelations in Mr. Patrick's readings. Yeah, I believe that. Sure. Poor George Voinovich is still not at rest with this kind of hatred spewing from a current Republican leader in Texas! It is the anathema of what George stood for his entire public life. George was a man of great compassion. His readings of Jesus taught him to love all of his fellow human beings!

A good man but terrible politician

I met Governor Voinovich in 1995 when he presented three citizens of the State of Ohio with an award. for meritorious service to the State. I got a chance to speak with him for some time and was very impressed with him as a person and a politician

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