George Victor Voinovich (born July 15, 1936) is the senior United States Senator from the state of Ohio, and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, he served as the 65th Governor of Ohio from 1991 to 1998, and as the 54th mayor of Cleveland from 1980 to 1989. Voinovich will retire from the Senate in 2011 when his current term expires.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, his father was Croatian Serb (from Kordun), and his mother was Slovenian. Voinovich grew up in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland and graduated from Collinwood High School in 1954. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Ohio University in 1958 and received a Law degree in 1961 from the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University. He was also a part of the fraternity Phi Kappa Tau at Ohio University. He married his wife, Janet, in 1962. They had four children: George, Betsy, Peter, and Molly, as well as seven grandchildren. Molly, their youngest child, was killed in an auto accident at age 9.
Voinovich began his political career in 1963 as an assistant attorney general of Ohio. He then served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971. From 1971 to 1976, he served as county auditor of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In 1975, he made an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination for Mayor of Cleveland against incumbent Mayor Ralph J. Perk. From 1977 to 1978, he served as a member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners. In 1978, Voinovich was elected lieutenant governor on the ticket with James A. Rhodes (the first Ohio lieutenant governor not to be elected separately from the governor).