Sherrod Brown

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Sherrod Brown
Sherrod Brown official photo 2009.jpg
United States Senator
from Ohio
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Serving with Rob Portman
Preceded by Mike DeWine
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 13th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Don Pease
Succeeded by Betty Sutton
47th Secretary of State of Ohio
In office
January 12, 1983 – January 14, 1991
Governor Dick Celeste
Preceded by Anthony Celebrezze
Succeeded by Bob Taft
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the 61st district
In office
January 3, 1975 – December 31, 1982
Preceded by Joan Douglass
Succeeded by Frank Sawyer
Personal details
Born Sherrod Campbell Brown
(1952-11-09) November 9, 1952 (age 65)
Mansfield, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Larke Ummel (Divorced in 1987)
Connie Schultz
Children Emily
Residence Cleveland, Ohio
Alma mater Yale University
Ohio State University
Religion Lutheranism
Signature Sherrod Brown's signature
Website Senate website

Sherrod Campbell Brown (born November 9, 1952) is the senior United States Senator from Ohio, in office since January 3, 2007. Brown is a member of the Democratic Party. Before his election to the Senate, he was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 13th congressional district from 1993 to 2007. He previously served as the Ohio Secretary of State (1983–1991) and as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives (1974–1982).

Brown defeated two-term Republican incumbent Mike DeWine in the 2006 Senate election and was re-elected in 2012, defeating state Treasurer Josh Mandel. In the Senate, he was chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Hunger, Nutrition and Family Farms and the Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy, and is also a member of the Committee on Finance, Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and Select Committee on Ethics. Beginning January 2015, Brown became the Ranking Democratic Member on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.[1]

Early life, education, and academic career

Brown was born in Mansfield, Ohio, the son of Emily (née Campbell) and Charles Gailey Brown, M.D.[2] He was named after his maternal grandfather. He became an Eagle Scout in 1967. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian studies from Yale University in 1974. At Yale, he was in Davenport College, the same residential college as U.S. Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush[dubious ]. He went on to receive a Master of Public Administration degree and a Master of Arts degree in education from The Ohio State University in Columbus in 1979 and 1981, respectively. He taught at the Mansfield branch campus of The Ohio State University from 1979 to 1981.[3] He backpacked in India during the Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.[4]

Early political career

Brown served as a state representative in Ohio from 1974 to 1982. At the time of his election to the Ohio House, he was the youngest person elected to that body.[5] In 1982, he won a four-way Democratic primary that included Dennis Kucinich. He then defeated Republican Virgil Brown in the general election for the office of Ohio Secretary of State, succeeding Anthony J. Celebrezze, Jr. In 1986, Brown won, defeating Vincent C. Campanella. In 1990, Brown lost his run for a third term to Republican Bob Taft.

U.S. House of Representatives


Congressman Brown
Brown's signature on an official document from his office as Secretary of State of Ohio, 1990.

In 1992, Brown moved from Mansfield to Lorain, Ohio, and won a heavily contested Democratic primary for the open seat for Ohio's 13th district, located in the western and southern suburbs of Cleveland, after eight-term incumbent Don Pease announced his retirement. The Democratic-leaning district gave him an easy win over the little-known Republican Margaret R. Mueller. He was re-elected six times.[6]


In 2001, the Republican-controlled legislature considered redrawing Brown's district. Some top Democrats urged Brown to relocate and take on fellow Democrat James Traficant after he defected when he voted to elect Republican Dennis Hastert as speaker of the U.S. House.[7]

In 2005, Brown led the Democratic effort to block the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). For many months, Brown worked as whip on the issue, securing Democratic "nay" votes and seeking Republican allies. After several delays, the House of Representatives finally voted on CAFTA after midnight on July 28, 2005 which ended in passage by one vote.[8]

He opposed an amendment to Ohio's constitution that banned same sex marriage.[9] Brown was also one of the few U.S. Representatives to vote against the then highly popular Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.[10]

Committee assignments

Brown was the ranking minority member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Health Subcommittee. He also served on the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. While serving on the House International Relations Committee, he was also a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. He was also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[11]

U.S. Senate


An earlier photo of Senator Brown.

Bank and finance industry consolidation

In February 2013, conservative commentator George F. Will wrote in support of Brown's proposal to break up consolidated banks and finance industry conglomerates, ending "too big to fail" by restoring the Glass-Steagall Act.[12]

Foreign policy

Brown opposed the Iraq War and voted against the Iraq Resolution as a House Representative.[13] He voted against the $87 billion war budgetary supplement. He also voted for redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008.[14]

In 2008, Brown joined 91 other senators in voting for the Iraq and Afghanistan War Funding, Unemployment Benefits Extension, and GI Bill, which required the Department of Defense to provide a timetable for achieving security in Iraq, provided education funding for veterans, extended unemployment compensation, and appropriated funds to combat drug trafficking, reduce Medicaid fraud, assist victims of natural disasters, and fund the Department of Defense.[15]

In 2012, he co-sponsored a resolution to "oppose any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.",[16] and voted in favor of the 2012 NDAA that sparked controversy over indefinite detention of US citizens.[17]

On May 13, 2014, Brown introduced the Gold Star Fathers Act of 2014 (S. 2323; 113th Congress), a bill that would expand preferred eligibility for federal jobs to the fathers of certain permanently disabled or deceased veterans.[18] Brown said that "when a service member is killed in action or permanently and totally disabled, the government should do its part to be there for grieving parents - no matter if they're fathers or mothers."[19]

LGBT rights

Brown is an advocate of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. He also voted against prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting children in Washington D.C., and received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign.[20][21] On November 30, 2010 Brown made a contribution to the It Gets Better Project from the Senate floor,[22] and on December 18, 2010 he voted in favor of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010.[23][24]

Health care

In 2007 Brown and Sam Brownback (R-KS) sponsored an amendment to the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007. President George W. Bush signed the bill in September 2007. The amendment established a prize as an incentive for companies to invest in new drugs and vaccines for neglected tropical diseases. It awards a transferable “Priority Review Voucher” to any company that obtains approval for a treatment for a neglected tropical disease. This provision adds to the market based incentives available for the development of new medicines for developing world diseases in the developing world, among them malaria, tuberculosis and African sleeping sickness. The prize had been proposed by Duke University faculty members Henry Grabowski, Jeffrey Moe, and David Ridley in their 2006 Health Affairs paper "Developing Drugs for Developing Countries."[25]

Brown supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, voting for it in December 2009,[26] and he voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[27]


In 2011, in the National Journal’s annual rankings, Brown tied with eight other members for the title of the most liberal member of Congress.[28]

Intellectual property

Brown was a cosponsor of the Protect-IP Act (PIPA).[29]

Stimulus spending

In 2009 when the vote on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act came down to just a few votes, Brown (an ardent advocate of the legislation) was attending services for his deceased mother. The White House provided a plane in order to fly him back to vote for the bill when it was determined that no commercial flight would make it on time. "Although most senators voted shortly after 5:30 p.m., the 60th and final vote was not cast until 10:46 p.m. by Sen. Sherrod Brown."[30]


Brown has criticized free trade with China and other countries. In a 2006 Washington Post article, Brown argued against free trade on the grounds that labor activism was responsible for the growth of the U.S. middle class, and that the U.S. economy is harmed by trade relations with countries that lack the kind of labor regulations that have resulted from that activism.[31]

In 2011, the Columbus Dispatch noted that Brown "loves to rail against international trade agreements."[32] Brown's book, Myths of Free Trade, argues that "an unregulated global economy is a threat to all of us."[33] He recommends adopting measures that would allow for emergency tariffs, protect Buy America laws, including those that give preference to minority and women-owned businesses, and hold foreign producers to American labor and environmental standards.[34]

Brown was the co-author and sponsor of a bill that would officially declare China a currency manipulator and require the Department of Commerce to impose countervailing duties on Chinese imports.[35]


Brown hosts a panel of advisers to Barack Obama's presidential campaign during the first day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado

In August 2005, Brown announced he would not run for the United States Senate seat held by Republican Mike DeWine.[36] In October, however, Brown reconsidered his decision.[37] His announcement came shortly after Democrat Paul Hackett stated that he would soon announce his candidacy.

On February 13, 2006, Hackett withdrew from the race, all but ensuring that Brown would win the Democratic nomination. In the May 2 primary, Brown won 78.05% of the Democratic vote. His opponent, Merrill Samuel Keiser, Jr., received 21.95% of the vote.[38]

In the middle of his Senate campaign in April 2006, Brown, along with John Conyers, brought an action against George W. Bush and others, alleging violations of the Constitution in the passage of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.[39] The case, Conyers v. Bush, was ultimately dismissed for lack of standing.[40]

On November 7, 2006, Brown faced two-term incumbent senator Mike DeWine in the general election. Brown won the seat with 56% of the vote to DeWine's 44%.[41]


Brown stood for reelection in 2012, defeating opponent Josh Mandel, who in 2010 defeated the incumbent state treasurer by 14 points. Mandel raised $2.3 million in the second quarter of 2011 alone, to Brown’s $1.5 million.[42] Early on, Brown enjoyed a steady lead in the polls.[43] Mandel won the March Republican primary with 63% of the vote.[44]

The Washington Post reported that no candidate running for reelection, save Barack Obama, faced more opposition in 2012 by outside groups. As of April 2012, over $5.1 million had been spent on television ads opposing Brown, according to data provided by a Senate Democratic campaign operative. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $2.7 million. 60 Plus Association, a conservative group that opposes health care reform, spent another $1.4 million. Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee have also spent heavily in the race.[45] In May 2012, Brown hit the campaign trail with West Wing actor Martin Sheen.[46]

Controversial remarks

In March 2011, Brown came under scrutiny for a senate floor speech in which he cited the names of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin while he criticized Republican efforts in Ohio and Wisconsin to mitigate the power of public employee unions to negotiate with taxpayers. In his speech he said "some of the worst governments that we've ever had, do you know one of the first things they did? They went after unions. Hitler didn't want unions, Stalin didn't want unions, Mubarak didn't want independent unions".[47] Brown, however, added that he was not comparing the two situations. He later apologized for his speech.[48][49][50]

Committee assignments (113th Congress)

Personal life

Brown's second wife, Connie Schultz, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former newspaper columnist at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.[51] She is also the author of Life Happens (2007) and ...and His Lovely Wife (2008), in which she describes her experiences as a spouse of a U.S. Senate candidate.[52]

On May 18, 2014, Brown was awarded an honorary doctor of public service degree from Otterbein University. Along with his wife, Brown delivered a keynote address at the undergraduate commencement.[53]

Books authored

Brown is the author of two books:

Electoral history

Ohio's 13th congressional district: Results 1992–2004[54]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1992 Sherrod Brown 134,486 53% Margaret R. Mueller 88,889 35% Mark Miller Independent 20,320 8% Tom Lawson Independent 4,719 2% *
1994 Sherrod Brown 93,147 49% Gregory A. White 86,422 46% Howard Mason Independent 7,777 4% John M. Ryan Independent 2,430 1%
1996 Sherrod Brown 148,690 61% Kenneth C. Blair, Jr. 87,108 36% David Kluter Natural Law 8,707 4%
1998 Sherrod Brown 116,309 62% Grace L. Drake 72,666 38%
2000 Sherrod Brown 170,058 65% Rick H. Jeric 84,295 32% Michael Chmura Libertarian 5,837 2% David Kluter Natural Law 3,108 1%
2002 Sherrod Brown 123,025 69% Ed Oliveros 55,357 31%
2004 Sherrod Brown 201,004 67% Robert Lucas 97,090 33%

*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1992, Werner J. Lange received 3,844 votes (2%).

U.S. Senate (Class I) elections in Ohio: 2006-2012 results[54]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
2006 Sherrod Brown 2,257,369 56% Mike DeWine 1,761,037 44% #
2012 Sherrod Brown 2,762,757 51% Josh Mandel 2,435,740 45% *

#Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2006, Richard Duncan received 830 votes.
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2012, Scott Rupert received 250,617 votes.

See also


  1. "Senate Democrats lock in key committee memberships." The Hill. (December 12, 2014).
  2. 1. Sherrod Campbell Brown from
  3. "About". Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  4. "America's ethnic makeover routs Mitt Romney". The Times Of India. 
  5. Barone, Michael (2004). Almanac of American Politics. The National Journal. 
  6. "Ohio: Thirteenth District". 1998 Almanac. National Journal. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  7. "Redistricting could push Brown into governor race". Business First Columbus. January 12, 2001. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  8. "Democratic Leaders Reid, Hoyer Say Cafta Will Fail". Bloomberg L.P. May 3, 2005. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  9. Nagourney, Adam (May 7, 2006). "Early Intensity Underlines Role of Races in Ohio". New York Times. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  10. "Roll Call vote, Defense of Marriage Act" Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  11. "Congressional Committees". Open Secrets. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  12. "Time to break up the big banks" George F. Will, Washington Post, February 08, 2013
  13. Roll Call vote, Iraq War resolution from
  14. "Sherrod Brown on War & Peace". Retrieved March 28, 2012. 
  15. "Project Vote Smart - Senator Brown on HR 2642 - Iraq and Afghanistan War Funding, Unemployment Benefits Extension, and GI Bill". Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  17. "HR 1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 - Voting Record". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  18. "CBO - S. 2323". Congressional Budget Office. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  19. Albrecht, Brian (11 September 2014). "Gold Star Fathers Act gets salute from U.S. Senate". Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  20. "Sherrod Brown on Civil Rights" On the Issues. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  21. "Sherrod Brown on the Issues" On the Issues. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  22. "Senator Sherrod Brown: It Gets Better" on YouTube. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  23. "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  24. "Senate Vote 281 - Repeals ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell'". The New York Times. 
  25. "Developing Drugs For Developing Countries - Ridley et al. 25 (2): 313 - Health Affairs". Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  26. "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  27. "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  28. Mihalchik, Carrie (February 28, 2011). "Most Liberal Members of Congress". National Journal. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  29. "S.968: PIPA - U.S. Congress". OpenCongress. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  30. Torry, Jack (February 14, 2009). "Stimulus bill approved; Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown rushes back to Capitol to cast deciding vote". The Columbus Dispatch. 
  31. Dorgan, Byron; Brown, Sherrod (December 23, 2006). "How Free Trade Hurts". Washington Post. 
  32. Torry, Jack (August 29, 2011). "Mandel could give Sherrod Brown a real race". The Columbus Dispatch. 
  33. Brown, Sherrod (2006). Myths of Free Trade: Why American Trade Policy Has Failed. New York: The New Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-59558-124-2. 
  34. Brown, Sherrod (2006). Myths of Free Trade: Why American Trade Policy Has Failed. New York: The New Press. pp. 201–207. ISBN 978-1-59558-124-2. 
  35. Weisman, Jonathan (September 15, 2011). "The Schumer-Brown-Romney Bill?". Washington Wire. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  36. Provance, Jim (August 19, 2005). "Sherrod Brown's advocates saddened – Polls can't convince him to seek Senate". Toledo Blade. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  37. Tankersley, Jim (October 6, 2005). "Brown confirms he will challenge DeWine for Senate seat". Toledo Blade. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  38. 2006 Election Results from
  39. "11 House Members to Sue Over Budget Bill". ABC News. Associated Press. April 27, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2007. [dead link]
  40. "Judge Dismisses Budget Bill Lawsuit". ABC News. Associated Press. November 6, 2006. Retrieved November 28, 2006. [dead link]
  41. "U.S. Senate / Ohio". American Votes 2006. CNN. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  42. Koff, Stephen. "Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel raises whopping $2.3 million for U.S. Senate race". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  43. "2012 Ohio Senate Race". RCP Averages. Real Clear Politics. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  44. "2012 Ohio Senate Primary results". Politico. Retrieved March 28, 2012. 
  45. Stein, Sam (April 6, 2012). "Sherrod Brown Campaign In Ohio Faces $5 Million Ad Barrage Without Help". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  46. "Martin Sheen hits the trail with Sherrod Brown". Politico. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  47. "Sherrod Brown: Hitler Hated Unions, Just Like The GOP". The Atlantic Wire. March 3, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  48. "Brown invokes Hitler, Stalin in Senate speech on labor unions". March 3, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  49. "Sen. Brown apologizes for Hitler, Stalin comment". The Columbus Dispatch - March 4, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  50. Sarah Wright,Chillicothe Gazette. "Sherrod Brown apologizes for Hitler remarks". Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  51. "Connie Schultz, Plain Dealer Columnist". Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  52. ". . . and His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man". Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  53. "Senator and Writer Duo Address Commencement". Otterbein Towers (Early Summer 2014): 7. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  54. 54.0 54.1 "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved January 10, 2008. 

Further reading

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Anthony Celebrezze
Secretary of State of Ohio
Succeeded by
Bob Taft
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Don Pease
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
Betty Sutton
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ted Celeste
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Ohio
(Class 1)

2006, 2012
Most recent
United States Senate
Preceded by
Mike DeWine
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Ohio
Served alongside: George Voinovich, Rob Portman
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Bernie Sanders
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Bob Casey