Ted Strickland was born in Lucasville, Ohio, one of nine children. He received his bachelor’s degree from Asbury College in Kentucky in 1963. He went on to attend the Asbury Theological Seminary and received a Master of Divinity. He continued his studies at the University of Kentucky, receiving a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology in 1980. Strickland has served as a minister, a psychologist, and a college professor. He was an administrator at a Methodist children’s home, an assistant professor of psychology at Shawnee State University, and a consulting psychologist at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF). In 1992, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he helped author the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a federal initiative that now provides health insurance to millions of children of working parents.
Strickland was elected Governor of Ohio in November 2006. As governor, he focused on improving the climate for businesses in Ohio, in part through tax reductions and regulatory overhaul. He saw Ohio win the Governor’s Cup from Site Selection magazine for its success in economic development. In addition, during Strickland’s tenure, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council raised Ohio’s state ranking for ‘business climate’ from 38th to 11th in the nation and from 7th to 1st in the Midwest.
Strickland created FAST TRAC, an initiative aimed at increasing infrastructure projects in Ohio. A supporter of renewable energy production, he signed off on a standard calling for one-quarter of Ohio’s energy to be produced by renewables within 25 years. Strickland also made education reform a hallmark of his administration, and saw Ohio public schools rise in rank from 27th to 5th in the nation according to Education Week. Also during his administration, a state university system was established to ensure greater access by Ohioans to in-state education and in turn to make it more attractive for them to remain in the state after finishing school.
In 2010, Strickland lost his bid for a second gubernatorial term to Republican John Kasich.