Senator George V. Voinovich: statehouse event commemorates a lifelong public servant

Ellenore Holbrook
January 18, 2017

After serving his country for over 46 years as a public official, the life of late Senator George Voinovich was honored during a memorial tribute in early December. The memorial, called a Celebration of a Legacy of Public Service, took place at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium to pay respect to his four-years as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives and his seven-years as the 65th Governor of Ohio. Senator Voinovich was also the Mayor of Cleveland for nine-years and United States Senator for eight-years.

While the event was in remembrance of Senator Voinovich, the memorial and those who spoke focused primarily on celebrating his life and the incredible impact the Senator had on the state and country he loved. With hundreds in attendance, many of those there had worked with the Senator at some point and there was lots of conversation regarding his many achievements at a reception before the event. From current legislators to speech writers, the Governor of Ohio and his grandchildren, those in attendance were had many interesting tales to tell about Senator Voinovich.

The first speaker of the evening, Ohio Governor John Kasich, stated, “We’re celebrating George’s life. We’re not mourning him any longer. We’re celebrating what he was all about.” The Governor continued to reiterate that Senator Voinovich truly cared about his constituents and worked to speak for those who did not have a voice.  

Senator Voinovich’s former Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General Mike DeWine, also spoke at the event. He described Senator Voinovich’s consistency and drive, “Yet he always managed to do what he had to do while still keeping true to his integrity, his morality, and his faith.” DeWine continued to describe how Senator Voinovich was not only a mentor to him during their time in office but a friend as well.

Former Republic House Speaker, Jo Ann Davidson, continued with this narrative of Senator Voinovich’s mentorship, friendship, and hardworking attitude. She described how Senator Voinovich was the only person she knew that held the many characteristics that create a true public servant.

One of the final speakers was George F. Voinovich, Senator Voinovich’s eldest son. He expressed that while Senator Voinovich had spoken to his colleagues about his children and grandchildren quite often, it was the same situation when he arrived at home: he spoke of his staff and colleagues as family. He summed up the evening by stating, “He was a regular guy who worked hard, the true definition of a public servant.”

While the world lost a true public servant in the passing of Senator Voinovich, his legacy continues to live on through his hard work, his compassion, and those who were able to learn from him.