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Former Senate President, Democratic Party Chair Remembered For Service, Smarts, Sense Of Humor

Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board/Capitol Square Foundation
Former Senate President and Ohio Democratic Party Chair Harry Meshel (D-Youngstown) gestures during a 2011 interview.

Democrats around the state are mourning the loss of a longtime party leader, known for his deep knowledge, his political savvy and his sharp tongue.

Former Senate President Harry Meshel of Youngstown championed low-paid workers, the disabled, and others he felt were treated unfairly. His political career didn’t start till after he served in World War II and graduated college. He lost his first few races, but won a seat in the state Senate in 1970. He stayed there for more than 20 years, with two years as President. In an interview for the Capitol Square Foundation in 2011, Meshel said running for office was a great choice, though there were plenty of people who’d opposed him over the years.

“I tell them, they don’t know me. That’s why they don’t like me. If you get to know me, you’ll like me. You won’t agree with me all the time.”

Meshel left the Senate in 1993 to become the state Democratic Party Chair, and Democrats including former Gov. Ted Strickland say he was a mentor and an icon. Meshel was 93.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at
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