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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Gilligan Institute, but he won't be the skipper

Jon Craig reports from Columbus

John J. Gilligan has been a city councilman, congressman, school board member and governor.

Now, he is going to be an institute.

The Gilligan Institute, a new non-profit organization, has been formed to study the career of the Clifton resident and encourage discussion and debate on politics and government in Ohio.
Incorporated last month, the Gilligan Institute is based in Columbus for now, not in Gilligan’s hometown.

“That’s where it’s most convenient for most of the people involved in the project to get together,’’ said Gilligan, a Democrat who was Ohio’s 62nd governor.

The institute was founded by former senior members of the Gilligan administration, Gilligan’s son, John Jr., and daughter, Kathleen Sebelius, who is governor of Kansas. The institute will kick off its first official public event May 15 with a presidential campaign briefing by two nationally-known political experts.

The institute will be staffed by volunteers on a barebones budget, according to Bob Tenenbaum, Gilligan’s former press secretary from 1971-74.

“It’s very moving to have people get together to try and put something like this together,’’ said Gilligan, 87, in a telephone interview from his home in Clifton.

Jim Friedman, who served as Gilligan’s deputy campaign manager and first chief of staff, said the institute will do its work across the state and that basing it in Columbus was more for convenience for some of the volunteer staff.

“Programs will take place in a variety of places,’’ he said.“Like anything else, we’re going to crawl and walk before we start sprinting,’’ Friedman said.

Gilligan first entered public office in 1953 as a member of Cincinnati City Council. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 1st Congressional District, and was elected governor of Ohio in 1970.

Gilligan’s term as governor was highlighted by a major overhaul of Ohio’s funding system for education as well as significant reforms in environmental protection, corrections, mental health and mental retardation. He also created the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“We really tried to develop an administration that was responsive to the needs and desires of the people and at the same time was responsible,’’ Gilligan said.

Gilligan introduced personal and corporate income taxes, which was unusual among states at that time. “The term tax would send a number of people up the wall,’’ he said.

“We needed the revenue, especially in education. . . People have said the income tax caused my defeat’’ for re-election in 1974. “I don’t believe that at all. . . The income tax didn’t beat me. It was my unshining personality,’’ Gilligan said with a self-deprecating tone.

He continued in public service as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development from 1977 to 1979, taught at the University of Notre Dame and directed the university’s Institute for Public Policy and Institute for International Peace Studies, and directed the civic issues forum of the University of Cincinnati School of Law. In 1999, at the age of 78, he was elected to the Cincinnati Board of Education, where he served two terms before retiring from the board in 2007.

Proceeds from the May 15 event will help underwrite the cost of a biography of Gilligan, commissioned by the Gilligan Institute and authored by Mark Bernstein, a Washington, D.C.-based writer who has written biographies of the Wright Brothers and Ohio entrepreneurs Charles Kettering and John H. Patterson. Bernstein’s contract keeps his writing independent of the Institute, according to Friedman, with hopes of publishing in 2010.

Friedman said the book will be more than a biography. “It’s going to look at Ohio politics through the 20th century through his career,’’ he said, and how Gilligan shaped politics.
Bernstein also has written numerous newspaper and magazine articles, many of them with Ohio historical themes.

Gilligan’s former aides plan meetings soon with Bernstein. Gilligan said he’s available as needed for the book project, including interviews, but wondered how helpful he would be. “Especially since I have no memory,’’ he joked.


at 9:54 AM, April 29, 2008 Anonymous Imus B Somebody said...

higher office democrats...they just never go away,do they...

at 10:31 AM, April 29, 2008 Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

I thought Gilligan was the worst governor that Ohio could ever endure.But then Bob Taft came along.

at 12:05 PM, April 29, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well-deserved. John Gilligan is the embodiment of public service, and an inspiration

at 4:48 PM, April 29, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Gilligan, best governor Kentucky ever had

at 1:00 PM, April 30, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathleen Sebelius is a hack politician. She is such a ruthless supporter of killing babies in the womb that her own alma mater in Cincinnati disinvited her to speak at graduation a few years back. A wise decision.

The Enquirer reporterettes are obsessed with her for some reason, so that's why every 2 weeks there's a blog item that mentions her.

at 1:51 PM, April 30, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen on Sebelius. She ought to be excommunicated by the Catholic church. And her baby-killing
father with her.

at 2:17 PM, April 30, 2008 Blogger Cheviot Sports Idiot said...

The anti-choice Catholic Taliban is out again today.

at 10:43 AM, May 01, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

..leaving CSI as the pro-choice Gulag Gestapo guru.

Proud parent of a 25 week old "fetus" . It's C-H-I-L-D, not C-H-O-I-C-E

at 6:42 PM, May 01, 2008 Anonymous Scrape Scrape said...

Who cares.

at 3:00 PM, May 02, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:43 Proud parent
Thank you for loving your unborn child. That guy doesn't call himself the idiot for nothing. He deserves to have his head placed where it is on his picture.

at 4:05 PM, May 06, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathleen Sebelius is a disgrace to the city of Cincinnati. Hope she stays out in Kansas and never comes back here!

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