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Ohio Governor Ted Strickland believes every Ohioan deserves quality health care. And Governor Strickland is willing to put his money where his mouth is.

Recently, The Columbus Dispatch ran a story noting that Strickland has declined employer-paid health insurance for himself and his wife Frances, since he was elected to Congress in 1992. Noted was his decision to switch to a health insurance plan offered Ohio state government workers and pay for the premium, at least $10,646 for him and Frances, out of his own pocket.

It is a principled stand that has cost him close to $100,000 since 1992. But Ted has done this because he believes that elected leaders would be more likely to support making sure everyone had health insurance coverage if they knew how much it actually cost by paying for it themselves.

This new position is consistent with the Ted Strickland I have known for more than 11 years. I can remember when he first told me that he didn’t accept the federal government paying the premiums for the health care insurance offered to Members of Congress until all people in his Congressional District also had health care. I had worked with over 80 candidates for Congress in more than 35 states and had never met someone who was willing to give up thousands of dollars a year in order to take a stand for working families. (In disclosure, I have worked for Ted in a variety of capacities – first as a Democratic party strategist helping him win back his Congressional seat in 1996, then as his Chief of Staff in Washington during 1997 into 1998, and as a consultant to his re-election campaigns for Congress through 2003.)

Ted Strickland knows that talk comes cheap for too many politicians. Rather than just make promises, he is making a personal sacrifice to back up his priorities.

Ted is a visionary leader - one that's willing to take risks and make personal sacrifices to stand up for what they know is right. This is why I'm proud to call Ted a friend, and this is why 21st Century Democrats is proud to have endorsed him in 2006, along with Senator Sherrod Brown, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, and State Treasurer Richard Cordray.

If there are any new Ted Strickland’s out there, we’re looking for them to apply for endorsement from 21st Century Democrats so we can help bring progressive change in Ohio.

Originally posted to Mark Lotwis on Mon Jun 04, 2007 at 09:46 AM PDT.

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