Remembering George Voinovich: reaction to his death pouring in

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CLEVELAND – George Voinovich played a role on the local, state and national political stages, and as news of his death Sunday morning broke, many shared their memories of him and expressed their condolences.

Ohio Governor John Kasich was one of the first to react to the news:

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson had praise for Voinovich:

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Honorable George V. Voinovich. He was a uniquely talented leader who served our state and the city of Cleveland selflessly as Governor, Senator and as a fellow Mayor of the City of Cleveland. He will be missed.

He was a real Clevelander. We did not look at him as a Republican or a Democrat but, as a Clevelander who we supported. He was a great man, a good leader, and consummate professional.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame released this statement:

“George Voinovich was a visionary who got the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame built in Cleveland, established it as a cultural icon, and laid the foundation for the museum as economic engine for Ohio. Our condolences to the family for this major loss.”
Greg Harris, President & CEO
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine, who served as Voinovich’s Lieutenant Governor, said:
“Fran and I are heartbroken by the news of George’s death.  Our hearts go out to his beloved wife Janet, their children, and their grandchildren.
“George Voinovich was a good person — a good man.  He was a man of deep religious faith, and it was that faith that guided him in his decisions.  He truly lived his belief that with God, all things are possible. 
“He believed that his calling was to serve others — his city, community, and country — through his work in government.  He also believed that everyone had God-given gifts, and that we all need to use our gifts to help others.   He often talked about his mother, Josephine, who volunteered at the library at St. Aloysius well into her 80s to serve the children there.
“George was a mentor to me, but he was also my friend.  I was honored to serve as his Lieutenant Governor and had the great opportunity to watch him lead and see first-hand his management skills. 
The campaign of presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sent out condolences:

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Former Senator George Voinovich. He was a great public servant of Ohio for well over 40 years, and helped return Cleveland to its glory as one of America’s great cities. His dedication to leading with integrity and his focus on serving the people are an example to all. We are honored to celebrate the Republican National Convention in Senator Voinovich’ hometown next month, where his presence will be with us all as we work to promote the ideals for which he stood. Our thoughts and prayers are with to his wife, Janet, and all of his family and friends. 

The Ohio Republican Party and its chairman, Matt Borges, had this to say:
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Ohio’s favorite son, George Voinovich, this morning. Voinovich served more than 46 years in public office and defined what it means to be a public servant. George Voinovich was a man of integrity who dedicated his life to serving Cleveland and the state of Ohio. As Mayor, Voinovich saved Cleveland from default and led a comeback campaign for the city. He proficiently governed Ohio and served as a voice of reason in the U.S. Senate. George Voinovich is the most prolific vote-getter in the history of Ohio. Our hearts go out to his wife Janet and their children and grandchildren.”

The Ohio Democratic Party also had praise for the former Governor:

“Today we mourn the passing of an Ohio giant, George Voinovich, a man who dedicated more than half of his life in service to the people of the Buckeye State. When I was a local elected official, I had the privilege of escorting then-Senator Voinovich on a tour of Cincinnati, and it was clear he was still a mayor at heart. He didn’t miss a detail, and that’s what a great public servant does — focuses on the details and brings people together to find solutions. Our thoughts and prayers are with George’s wife, Janet, his beloved children and grandchildren and our colleagues at the Ohio Republican Party, as we grieve the loss of a great Ohioan.”

Former Cleveland Mayor and US congressman Dennis Kucinich remembered Voinovich:
“George Voinovich was a good and thoroughly decent man who ennobled government service through a lifetime of dedicated work. Our community will remember him not only as one of its favorite sons, but as an exemplar of the highest principles of leadership – – honesty and integrity and commitment to family.  Elizabeth and I extend to the Voinovich family our deepest sympathies and much love at this time of great sorrow.”
 Senator Rob Portman said:

As Mayor, as Governor, and as Senator, George Voinovich exemplified everything good about public service. It was never about him, but always about helping others.  He was an independent voice who never hesitated to speak his mind.

 “The City of Cleveland, the state of Ohio and the nation benefited from his extraordinary service, but he had a special place in his heart for his beloved Cleveland. It is not an exaggeration to say he personally saved the city from default and revived the spirit of Cleveland through sheer force of will, an unyielding work ethic and an infectious optimism. There are so many signs of his contributions to Cleveland and the state of Ohio, from the Voinovich innerbelt bridge to the Voinovich Bicentennial Park to the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University, to community treasures like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that would not be here but for his leadership.  These are all a testament to the love and respect that the people of Ohio had for him.  But as in all of his public service roles, his intangible contribution was to lift peoples’ hopes.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish:

“George Voinovich was a devoted, thoughtful and compassionate public servant who gave much of his life working for all of us.  After leaving the Senate, even up to recent weeks, he continued to advocate for projects to improve the lives of residents in northeast Ohio.  This is a time we need more people like him.  We will all miss him.”

US Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur honored Voinovich:

Representative Jim Renacci praised Voinovich:

“Ohio lost a great leader, father, and husband last night.  From mayor to governor to U.S. Senator, George was a compassionate and humble man.  His fiscally responsible manner and bipartisan approach will always be remembered and sorely missed.  My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Janet, his family, and loved ones.”

Former Governor Ted Strickland said:

“George Voinovich was a true public servant for the people of Ohio. He was a great leader of our state, and a titan of Ohio politics. His accomplishments have touched and improved the lives of every Ohioan. My thoughts and deepest prayers are with his family. May he rest in peace.” 

US Rep David Joyce remembered his friendship with Voinovich:

Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan extended his sympathy:

“I extend my deepest sympathies to the family of George Voinovich. Former Governor and Senator Voinovich served our state with great distinction all his life. He was a consummate professional who always conducted himself with class and independent leadership. He will be missed.”

Even his namesake bridge expressed its sorrow:

Congressman Robert E. Latta also expressed sympathy:

“Marcia and I extend our deepest sympathies to Janet and all the Voinovich family on the passing of former Governor George Voinovich. The Governor dedicated himself to exemplifying what a true public servant was to the people of Ohio and the United States. He will be sorely missed.”

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