John Joyce "Jack" Gilligan, an Ohio native who first served as a U.S. Representative and later as the 62nd Governor of Ohio died at his home in Cincinnati Monday. Gilligan, 92 years of age, is the father of Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services and former Governor of Kansas. Gilligan and his daughter are the only father and daughter ever to have been both elected state governors.
Statements of respect came from Democrats and Republicans alike today. In a statement from the White House, President Obama said Gilligan lived his life in service to his fellow Americans, especially those in his home state of Ohio and across the United States who were left out or left behind. During World War II, he earned a Silver Star for his bravery at Okinawa, and he never stopped serving his country—as a Congressman, where he helped enact historic legislation from the Voting Rights Act to Medicare and Medicaid, and then as governor of Ohio.
"In addition to his many other accomplishments, Jack was the father of four extraordinary children, including our Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. Kathleen followed in the high tradition of public service that Jack set, and they became the first father-daughter team of governors in American history. She always made her father proud, and I’m proud to have her on my team each and every day. Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to Kathleen, the entire Gilligan family, and their many friends" the president and first lady said in prepared remarks.
Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich also offered words of comfort to the Gilligan family. "I was saddened to learn of the passing of Gov. Gilligan. He served with honor and distinction, and my family’s thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time." Gov. Kasich has ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff effective immediately until the day of his funeral.
House Speaker John Boehner, another native Ohioan who is the third Buckeye to command the people's chamber, offered these words: "Governor Gilligan served our state with passion and was a committed public servant. Ohioans of all political stripes are saddened by the news of his passing. I offer my deepest condolences to Secretary Sebelius and all of the members of the former governor's family."
Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said of the great Democratic leader, "Former Governor Gilligan had the courage to stand up for all Ohioans, including the mentally handicapped and disadvantaged, at a deep cost to his own future. Ohio is a better place because of John Gilligan’s selfless commitment to our state, and we all owe him a debt of thanks."
Cuyahoga County Executive and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald said of Gilligan, "Gov. John Gilligan was a dedicated public servant who never stopped giving back to the state he loved. When he was 78 years old, a quarter century after he left the governor’s office, Gov. Gilligan was elected to the Board of Education of Cincinnati City Schools where he served for eight years. Gov. Gilligan was also a dedicated father and family man whose children and grandchildren will follow his path today and continue his legacy of service."
Ohio's senior U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown, said "Ohioans are lucky that John [#]Gilligan was born within our borders. [He] fundamentally changed our state' for better."
Redfern offered additional comments. "Former Governor Gilligan dedicated his entire life to the service of promoting our state, and all its citizens, until the very end of his days. Because of John Gilligan, the mentally and physically disabled, the poor, and the disadvantaged obtained a new quality of life in our state. But Gilligan’s courageous commitment to advancing Ohioans of all walks of life came at a tremendous professional cost."
Gilligan and the men and women he inspired gave life to the modern Ohio Democratic Party, Redfern reminded the public today. "Even as recent as last year, he remained a constant force in our Party, working to support Senator Sherrod Brown and others that shared his ideals. He will be deeply missed, and Ohio is a better place because of John Gilligan’s selfless commitment to our state. We all owe him a debt of gratitude and thanks."
The Washington Post wrote Monday that Gilligan inherited a school funding problem in which 24 districts had closed for lack of operating money and more were expected to follow suit. He persuaded legislators to enact the state’s first corporate and personal income tax in 1971 to raise money for dealing with those and other government priorities.
During the tax battle, WaPo sai d, he closed state parks to save money, an action political observers believe"turned up heat on legislators, but it also caused a public uproar."
During his one term as Ohio Governor, Gilligan oversaw the creation of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, passage of strip mine reclamation laws and division of the prison and mental health agencies into separate departments.
At age 43 in 1964, Gilligan was elected to the Eighty-ninth Congress as a representative for Ohio's 1st district, serving from January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1967. He lost his re-election bid to the Ninetieth Congress in 1966 to Republican Robert Taft Jr. in a tight race after the Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly redrew his district to favor the Republican Party.
In 1968, Gilligan defeated sitting U.S. Senator Frank J. Lausche in the Democratic primary but then lost in the general election to Republican William B. Saxbe after Lausche refused to support him in the general election, Wikipedia reported.
Gilligan was elected Governor of Ohio in 1970 when he defeated Republican state Auditor Roger Cloud but became a one-term state executive when he subsequently lost to former Republican governor James A. Rhodes, who had been barred from running in 1970 due to term limits. Out of 3,072,010 cast, Gilligan lost by only 11,488 votes.
Later in his career Gilligan served as the administrator of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from 1977 to 1979. He served as director of the Institute for Public Policy from 1979 to 1986, and taught at the University of Notre Dame from 1986 to 1992. He also served as director of the civic issues forum at the University of Cincinnati School of Law.
In 1999, Gilligan was elected to the Board of Education of the Cincinnati Public Schools. He chose not to stand for re-election when his term expired in 2007.
Gilligan death at his Cincinnati home following a long illness was announced in a statement from his family today, who informed the public that contributions may be made to Hospice of Cincinnati, 4360 Cooper Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242, or the John J. Gilligan Scholarship, Center for the American Dream, Xavier University, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45207-1221."
Subscribe. It's ALWAYS free. Send news or tips to email@example.com. join me on Google+, Pinterest or Twitter, or watch my YouTube videos.