Public pays respects to former GOP senator and Ohio governor

CLEVELAND (AP) — Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other elected officials and former state office holders paid their respects Thursday to former U.S. senator, Ohio governor and Cleveland mayor George Voinovich.

The 79-year-old Voinovich died in his sleep last Sunday at his home in Cleveland.

The public was invited to pass by Voinovich’s casket in the Cleveland City Hall rotunda before a program to honor the well-respected Republican.

Kasich, a fellow Republican, called Voinovich a mentor he got to know well since being elected in 2010.

Attorney General Mike DeWine, also a Republican, called Voinovich a tough politician who knew what it took to win elections, but didn’t forget what came next.

“He always managed to do what he needed to do, while staying true to his integrity, to his morality, to his faith,” DeWine said. “George knew that what really mattered was what you did with the office after the election.”

Betty Montgomery, a former Republican state auditor and attorney general, said Voinovich was guided by his principles, his faith and his love of family.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Voinovich spent more than 40 years in public office as a state representative, a county auditor, a lieutenant governor, a county commissioner, mayor, governor and finally two terms as a U.S. senator. He was to be a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next month.

A funeral Mass for Voinovich is scheduled for Friday morning at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Euclid.