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Government & Politics

Schiavoni Gives Up His Senate Leadership Post to Devote More Time to His Gubernatorial Run

photo of Joe Schiavoni, Kenny Yuko

The leader of Democrats in the Ohio Senate is stepping down from that post and will be replaced with a familiar face. 

Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni of the Youngstown area says he’s stepping down so he can devote the time necessary to run to be his party’s nominee for governor in 2018. He’s among three Democratic candidates who have announced so far.

“You know when you look at all of the campaign work that needs to be done in order to run for governor, it can be overwhelming. And I don’t want to shortchange the caucus and all of the candidate recruitment that has to occur and all of the fundraising that has to happen that I’ve done for the last three years.

"You can’t do both of those at the same time and be good at both of them.”

Schiavoni has led Ohio’s Senate Democrats for the past three years, during which Democrats have been outnumbered by Republicans in the Statehouse 2-1. He'll be replaced in the leadership role by Sen. Kenny Yuko of Richmond Heights. Yuko says he will focus on job creation, improving education, dealing with the opioid crisis and improving health care. And he says he intends to work with majority Republicans on those issues.

“I’ve made an entire career as an adult out of working with the other side of the table, so to speak. As a labor leader, I always had to work with management. Otherwise, what would happen is you’d be naming a street after me and calling it One Way. And we don’t want that to happen. So we need to make sure we work with our friends on the other side of the aisle. We will do that.”

In a written statement, Republican Senate President Larry Obhof congratulated Yuko and said the GOP’s caucus has been inspired by Yuko’s character and determination in taking on tough challenges. Yuko, who represents part of Cuyahoga and Lake counties, has been in the legislature since 2005, first as a representative and then as a senator in 2015. He will take over as the Senate’s highest ranking Democrat on April 26th, the date of the next Senate session.