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Fomer Ohio Senate President Bill Harris Dies at 83

photo of Bill Harris

The former head of the Ohio Senate is being remembered as a quiet force in the Statehouse.


In 1995, Bill Harris left his car dealership in Ashland after being elected to the Ohio House. The U.S. Marine veteran served there until 2000 when Gov. Bob Taft appointed former State Sen. Dick Schafrath to an administrative position, opening up a Senate seat. Taft appointed Harris who went on to win the Senate presidency in 2005. Current Senate President Larry Obhof now serves part of Harris’ old district.

“He’s someone who literally dedicated his life to serving the people of Ohio.”

Harris served as president until 2010 when he left due to term limits. Harris has been battling cancer in recent months. He was 83 years old.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.