You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Ohio Statehouse event honors late Gov. Gilligan

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius didn’t always know how different her father, former Ohio Gov. John J. Gilligan, was from other dads.

During a memorial service for the late Democratic governor and congressman, Sebelius said Thursday that she thought most families spent the fall season knocking on doors, putting out yard signs and campaigning.

“No one ever told us that politics was a voluntary activity,” explained Sebelius, a former Kansas governor.

The Cabinet secretary to President Barack Obama and her three siblings recounted the lessons they learned from their father at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. Governors, state lawmakers and members of the public were invited to celebrate the life of 92-year-old political leader and decorated World War II veteran.

Gilligan died at home on Aug. 26. He was Ohio governor from 1971 to 1975 and also served in the U.S. House, on Cincinnati city council, and the Cincinnati Board of Education.

Sebelius recalled her father once telling her that she’d have to enter a witness-protection program to have a successful political career. Move to a new state, get a new name and then run for office, he had said.

But she followed him into politics anyway and they became the first father-daughter pair of governors in the country.

“I learned an enormous amount from his political career and his political courage,” Sebelius said.

Gilligan’s creation of a state income tax in the face of a funding crunch for schools and other government priorities was a lasting accomplishment — and the undoing of his political career.

Elected in 1970, he also presided over 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.

Gilligan was born March 22, 1921, in Cincinnati. He served as a Navy gunnery officer in World War II, earning a Silver Star for saving several crew members from the destroyer USS Rodman after enemy shells set it ablaze off Okinawa.

His political career began in 1953 with his election to Cincinnati City Council. Later in life he returned to local public service as a school board member.

Sebelius said the best way to keep her father’s memory alive was to laugh, love well and “to continue to serve, to give voice to those who need someone to speak up for them and a place at the table for those who are pushed aside.”

Gilligan’s body has been donated to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Gator pit searched for remains of missing high school student in cold case
Gator pit searched for remains of missing high school student in cold case

A federal investigation into the 2009 disappearance of a New York teenager has led FBI agents to gator-infested woods in South Carolina. According to the Post and Courier, 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel sneaked away from her home in Rochester, New York, to spend spring break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Drexel was last seen in security footage at...
'Little People, Big World' star Matt Roloff makes announcement about his love life
'Little People, Big World' star Matt Roloff makes announcement about his love life

Matt Roloff is dating again. On Sunday, the “Little People, Big World” patriarch shared a photo confirming he has a new woman in his life. >> Read more trending news “Broke away for a day of relaxing at the beautiful Oregon coast. Is anybody else doing something special this spring break? Love love to you all,” he shared...
Warrant issued for pregnant Springfield mom after suspected OD
Warrant issued for pregnant Springfield mom after suspected OD

An arrest warrant has been issued for a pregnant Springfield woman on child endangering charges after police alleged she was found unresponsive over the weekend while she was supposed to be caring for a young child. Jessica Webb, 25, was found inside her home on Saturday, March 25. Her boyfriend came home and found a 4-year-old child unattended, according...
Fazoli’s CEO comes back to Dayton to announce menu overhaul
Fazoli’s CEO comes back to Dayton to announce menu overhaul

The CEO of the Fazoli’s Italian restaurant chain, which operates seven restaurants in the Dayton-Springfield area, returned to his hometown today to announce sweeping menu changes that have removed all artificial ingredients from every dish served. “We eliminated more than 80 artificial ingredients from 61 different menu items,” Carl...
Woman arrested on disorderly charge at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago
Woman arrested on disorderly charge at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Police arrested a Florida woman Friday on a disorderly intoxication charge at Mar-a-Lago after Palm Beach police said she tried to rush toward a Secret Service-restricted zone inside the club and was talking to empty cars. Amanda Ayres Kerwin, 37, is charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence, both misdemeanors, according...
More Stories