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In Boardman, future first lady?



Published: Wed, October 25, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Ohio's next probable first lady worked as a teacher for two years in Kentucky.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN -- Public education would be one of the issues upon which Frances Strickland would focus as Ohio's first lady.

Strickland, wife of U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, D-6th, of Lisbon, the Democratic nominee for Ohio governor, chatted Tuesday at Mahoning County Democratic offices on U.S. Route 224.

Most polls show the congressman well ahead of Republican opponent J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio secretary of state.

About 40 people, many of the them educators, attended the event.

Mrs. Strickland, known for toting a guitar and leading crowds at campaign events in sing-alongs, left the instrument in the car during the township stop.

She worked for two years as a teacher in Louisville, Ky., before pursuing a degree in counseling. She maintains the Southern drawl of her home town, Simpsonville, Ky.

Strickland said both she and her husband, who have been married for more than 18 years, are concerned about public education. Although the funding is one aspect, Strickland said she and her husband also are concerned that the state's educational system, including the No Child Left Behind policy, is negatively affecting children and teachers.

"I know many teachers that just need their hands untied to be able to teach the way they know how to teach," Strickland said.

When they met

The Stricklands met in 1974 while attending the University of Kentucky. According to the candidate's Web site, they shared a small office while working toward their graduate degrees.

She has penned a children's book, "The Little Girl Who Grew Up to be Governor."

Strickland said she hopes, if her husband is elected, to organize what she called think tanks around the state to talk about education.

The groups would be small gatherings of people involved in education, including teachers, school administrators, parents and business people who would talk about what's needed in public education.

Those ideas could then be expanded to town hall meetings.

"Ted and I are also worried about inclusion," Strickland said. Many Hispanics and blacks feel disenfranchised, she said.

"They think their government doesn't really care about them," she said.

"I want to be Ted's eyes and ears on these issues," she said.




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