Frances McGovern, 1927
Frances McGovern, grass
roots politician, served the citizens of her county and state with a sense of
fairness and justice.
Born on April 18, 1927,
McGovern has lived all her life in Akron, Ohio. She received her early education
at St. Sebastian and Buchtel High School. Interested in economics and law, McGovern
graduated from The University of Akron in 1948. She completed the requirements
for a law degree the following year at Western Reserve University Law School (now
Case-Western Reserve University Law School).
Elected to the Ohio General
Assembly in 1954, McGovern was re-elected in 1956 and 1958. During her term as
chair of the House Judiciary Committee in 1959, McGovern sponsored numerous bills
such as equal pay for equal work and licensing for practical nurses. She helped
create the State Building Code Authority and worked to establish a driving offense
Never marrying, McGovern
was the first woman appointed to the Ohio Public Utilities Commission in 1960.
Outspoken in her beliefs and with a keen sense of fairness, she resigned her position
with PUCO in 1963, when fellow workers were fired by the incoming administration.
During her political career,
McGovern traveled with Sen. Hubert Humphrey in Barberton and President Lyndon
B. Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, in Akron. McGovern represented Ohio on the
National Platform Committee in 1960, and was elected to the Democratic National
Convention in 1960 and 1964. Because of her political efforts, she was named the
1960 Ohio Democratic Woman of the Year.
After an unsuccessful bid
for a U. S. Congressional seat, McGovern took a job as legal counsel for the Ohio
Edison Company in 1965. In 1989, she retired.
McGovern served as president
of the United Way from 1986-1988, and as trustee of The University of Akron, 1973-1982.
With membership on the Akron Charter Revision Commission, she worked to put the
Summit County Charter on the ballot in 1979.
Other nonpartisan causes
attracted her involvement, including the "648" Board and the Sagamore
Hills Children's Mental Hospital Advisory Board. McGovern's most recent involvement
includes supporting renovations at The Civic Theater in downtown Akron.
McGovern has published two
books. The first is Fun, Cheap, and Easy (2002), in which she chronicles what
it was like to be involved in Ohio politics. Her other book is entitled Written
on the Hills: the Making of the Akron Landscape (1996).
Called the "darling
daughter of the Democrats," McGovern has also been referred to by John C.
Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at The University
of Akron, as "part pioneer and part exemplar of her era."
Photo courtesy of the Beacon