COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State Sen. Joe Schiavoni on Tuesday became the first Democrat in the Ohio governor's race to pick a running mate, selecting a state school board member vocal in her criticism of for-profit charter schools.
Board of Education member Stephanie Dodd adds a woman to the Schiavoni ticket as he faces a female-dominated primary field in May. It also solidifies the central role of education in Schiavoni's push for the Democratic nomination to replace term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich.
Dodd, 38, represents about 1 million constituents of an elective district spread across 13 central, southeastern and Appalachian Ohio counties. She lives in Buckeye Lake east of Columbus.
"She's dedicated, driven, and makes it clear through her work that she cares as much as we do about Ohio families," Schiavoni said in a statement. "Stephanie and I both worry about what the future will hold for our young kids. Together we can work to give every child a chance at a quality education, a good paying job, and a successful life."
Dodd called 2018 "the year for new, tireless leadership for the state of Ohio."
Schiavoni faces five other Democrats for the party's nomination in May: former consumer watchdog Richard Cordray; former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton; former state lawmaker Connie Pillich; Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley; and retiring Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O'Neill.
Two Republican gubernatorial candidates have already picked running mates.
Attorney General Mike DeWine chose Secretary of State Jon Husted, who had been a gubernatorial rival. U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci picked Cincinnati Councilwoman Amy Murray.
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor also is campaigning for governor and is expected to name her running mate soon.
First elected to the state school board in 2012, Dodd is well known as an advocate of public education who has questioned the accountability of Ohio's for-profit charter school sector. She has led initiatives to de-emphasize standardized tests and to boost spending on early childhood education.
Dodd has worked in corporate finance and as a financial analyst for the banking industry. She currently runs SLD Consulting, which does fundraising, development and event planning for nonprofit organizations.