Ohio Senate Minority Leader Stepping Down To Focus On Gubernatorial Run

Apr 20, 2017

Joe Schiavoni (L) and Kenny Yuko
Credit Ohio Public Radio

Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni is leaving his post to devote more time to his gubernatorial bid.

Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.

He’s among three announced Democratic candidates right now.

“You know when you look at all of the campaign work that needs to be done in order to run for Governor, it can be overwhelming. And I don’t want to shortchange the caucus and all of the candidate recruitment that has to occur and all of the fundraising that has to happen that I’ve done for the last three years. You can’t do both of those at the same time and be good at both of them.”

Schiavoni has led Ohio’s Senate Democrats for the past three years, during which Democrats have been outnumbered by Republicans two-to-one. Schiavoni will be replaced by Senator Kenny Yuko of Richmond Heights near Cleveland. Yuko says he’s looking forward to the task and will focus on job creation, improving education, dealing with the opioid crisis and improving health care. And he says he intends to work with majority Republicans on those issues.

“I’ve made an entire career as an adult out of working with the other side of the table, so to speak. As a labor leader, I always had to work with management. Otherwise, what would happen is you’d be naming a street after me and calling it One Way. And we don’t want that to happen. So we need to make sure we work with our friends on the other side of the aisle. We will do that.”

In a written statement, Republican Senate President Larry Obhof congratulated Yuko and said the GOP’s caucus has been inspired by Yuko’s character and determination in taking on tough challenges. Yuko, who represents part of Cuyahoga and Lake counties, has been in the legislature since 2005, first as a representative and then, as a senator, in 2015. He will take over as the Senate’s highest ranking Democrat on April 26th, the date of the next senate session.