|United States Senator
January 3, 2007
Serving with Rob Portman
|Preceded by||Mike DeWine|
|Vice Chair of the Joint Pensions Committee|
March 8, 2018
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee|
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Mike Crapo|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 13th district
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Don Pease|
|Succeeded by||Betty Sutton|
|47th Secretary of State of Ohio|
January 12, 1983 – January 14, 1991
|Preceded by||Tony Celebrezze|
|Succeeded by||Bob Taft|
|Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the 61st district
January 1, 1975 – January 1, 1983
|Preceded by||Joan Douglass|
|Succeeded by||Frank Sawyer|
|Born||Sherrod Campbell Brown
November 9, 1952
Mansfield, Ohio, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Larke Ummel (Divorced 1987)
|Education||Yale University (BA)
Ohio State University (MA, MPA)
Sherrod Campbell Brown (born November 9, 1952) is an American politician who is the senior United States Senator from Ohio, elected in 2006 as a progressive. A Democrat, he is a former member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 13th congressional district. He previously served as Ohio Secretary of State after serving in the Ohio House of Representatives.
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 chair 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 in January 2015 at the start of the 114th Congress, Brown became the Ranking Democratic Member on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. He was later appointed co-chair of the newly formed Senate Pensions Committee in March 2018.
Brown was born in Mansfield, Ohio, the son of Emily (née Campbell) and Charles Gailey Brown, M.D. 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 lived in Davenport College. While in college, Brown volunteered for liberal politicians such as George McGovern. He went on to receive a Master of Arts degree in education and a Master of Public Administration degree from Ohio State University in Columbus in 1979 and 1981, respectively. He taught at the Mansfield branch campus of Ohio State University from 1979 to 1981. He backpacked in India during the state of emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
During his senior year in college, Brown was recruited by a local Democratic leader to run for Ohio's state house. 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. In 1982, Brown ran for Ohio Secretary of State to succeed Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr. Brown won a four-way Democratic primary that included Dennis Kucinich, then defeated Republican Virgil Brown in the general election. In 1986, Brown won re-election, defeating Vincent C. Campanella. As Secretary of State, Brown focused on voter registration outreach. In 1990, Brown lost re-election in a heated campaign against Republican Bob Taft.
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.
The Democrats lost their long-held House majority in the 1994 elections, and Democrats remained in the minority for the remainder of Brown's tenure. As ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee, Brown successfully advocated for increased funding to fight tuberculosis.
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.
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.
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.
Brown was vetted as a potential vice-presidential running mate for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The choice ultimately came down to Brown and Tim Kaine, who was selected as Clinton's running mate. Brown, one of Bernie Sanders' closest allies in the U.S. Senate, endorsed Clinton and campaigned for her prior to the 2016 Democratic primary in Ohio. Washington Monthly suggested that as a potential presidential candidate in 2020, Brown could unite the establishment and progressive wings of the Democratic Party.
A staunch critic of free trade who has taken progressive stances on financial issues, Brown has said that the Democratic Party should place a stronger emphasis on progressive populism.
Brown opposed the Iraq War and voted against the Iraq Resolution as a House Representative. He voted against the $87 billion war budgetary supplement. He also voted for redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008.
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." In 2015, Brown co-sponsored an amendment to the budget which was unanimously approved by the Senate and would reimpose sanctions on Iran if Iran violated the interim or final agreement that has paused its nuclear activities.
Weeks after the 2014 Hong Kong class boycott campaign and Umbrella Movement broke out which demanded genuine universal suffrage among other goals, Brown (the chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China), along with co-chair U.S. Rep. Chris Smith and U.S. Senators Ben Cardin, Marco Rubio, Roger Wicker, Dianne Feinstein, Jeff Merkley and U.S. Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Dan Lipinski and Frank Wolf introduced Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would update the United States–Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 and U.S. commitment to democratic development in Hong Kong.
In December 2015, Brown co-sponsored a bill in Congress which would restrict ISIS' financing by authorizing new sanctions on foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate financial transactions with ISIS. The bill called for tightening international passport regulations and additional screening of those attempting to enter the U.S. on certain types of visas. The bill would also provide grants to local law enforcement agencies to train for active shooter situations and terrorist attacks and to conduct cyber-training to identify and track extremists such as the couple behind the 2015 San Bernardino attack. He also called for banning those on the no-fly list from purchasing assault weapons.
In 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. 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."
In 2015, Brown and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan introduced legislation that would give military veterans priority in scheduling classes in colleges, universities, and other post-secondary education programs.
In 2012, Brown co-sponsored the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act, a bill that would prohibit the export of some electronics for environmental reasons.
Brown called the Republican legislature in Ohio "lunatics" for introducing a concealed carry bill that would allow individuals to carry guns into airplane terminals before security, police buildings, private airplanes, and daycares.
In the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, Brown participated in the Chris Murphy gun control filibuster. A few weeks later, Brown voted for the Feinstein Amendment, which would have banned any individual on the terrorist watchlist from buying a gun.
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.
In 2016, after the leak of the Panama Papers, Brown and Elizabeth Warren urged the Treasury Department to investigate whether U.S. individuals were involved in possible tax avoidance and misconduct associated with the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
In the wake of the Flint water crisis, Brown introduced legislation that would force the federal government to step in when cities and states fail to warn residents about lead-contaminated drinking water and to give Ohio's school districts money to test it.
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."
Brown supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, voting for it in December 2009, and he voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Brown voted against prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting children in Washington D.C. He received a 100% score from the Human Rights Campaign in 2005-2006, indicating a pro-gay rights stance. On December 18, 2010, he voted in favor of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010.
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.
In 2011, the Columbus Dispatch noted that Brown "loves to rail against international trade agreements." Brown's book, Myths of Free Trade, argues that "an unregulated global economy is a threat to all of us." In his book, 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. 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.
In May 2016, Brown called for tariffs to be imposed on imports from China and praised Hillary Clinton's plan to enforce rules and trade laws and triple the enforcement budgets at the United States Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission.
Brown opposes NAFTA.
In August 2005, Brown announced he would not run for the United States Senate seat held by Republican Mike DeWine. In October, however, Brown reconsidered his decision. 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.
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. The case, Conyers v. Bush, was ultimately dismissed for lack of standing.
Brown stood for reelection in 2012, defeating opponent Josh Mandel, who in 2010 had 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. Early on, Brown enjoyed a steady lead in the polls. Mandel won the March Republican primary with 63% of the vote.
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 United States 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 also spent heavily in the race. In May 2012, Brown campaigned with West Wing actor Martin Sheen.
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". In his speech, Brown said "I'm not comparing what's happened to the workers in Madison or in Columbus to Hitler and Stalin." He later apologized for his speech.
Brown's second wife, Connie Schultz, is a former newspaper columnist at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but resigned because being a politician's spouse presented a conflict of interest. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005. She is also the author of Life Happens (2007) and ...and His Lovely Wife (2008), in which she describes her experiences as the spouse of a U.S. Senate candidate. Brown was previously married to Larke Recchie from 1979 to 1987. Brown is the father of four children: two from his marriage to Recchie and two children from his marriage to Schultz. He has five grandchildren.
Brown is the author of two books:
|Libertarian||Margaret Ann Leech||143,943||4|
|Democratic||Sherrod Brown (inc.)||1,805,833||60|
|Democratic||Sherrod Brown (inc.)||1,604,058||47|
|Republican||Margaret R. Mueller||88,889||35|
|Independent||Werner J. Lange||3,844||2|
|Republican||Gregory A. White||86,422||46|
|Independent||John M. Ryan||2,430||1|
|Republican||Kenneth C. Blair, Jr.||87,108||36|
|Natural Law||David Kluter||8,707||4|
|Republican||Grace L. Drake||72,666||38|
|Republican||Rick H. Jeric||84,295||32|
|Natural Law||David Kluter||3,108||1|
|Democratic||Merrill Samuel Keiser, Jr.||163,628||22|
|Independent||Richard Duncan (write-in)||830||0|
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