Thrusday, December 31, 1998

Hollister sworn in as Ohio governor today

Gap filled between Voinovich, Taft

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nancy Hollister and her family are no strangers to Ohio history.

        She'll add another chapter today when she's sworn in as the state's first female governor. Ms. Hollister will serve 11 days to complete the term of Gov. George Voinovich, who's moving on to the U.S. Senate next week.

        Ms. Hollister and her family have been making history for years. Her family, the Putnams, fought at Bunker Hill and helped found Marietta, the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory. In 1994, she became the first woman elected Ohio lieutenant governor.

        “I'm real proud of my daughter,” her father, Ben Putnam Jr., said Wednesday. “She's worked real hard in public service for a number of years, loves what she's doing and is a very serious and dedicated gal.”

        Mr. Putnam, 73, of Marietta, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance during a noon inauguration ceremony for Ms. Hollister in the Statehouse Atrium. Ms. Hollister will be sworn in by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton. The Marietta High School Choir from Ms. Hollister's hometown will perform as part of the festivities.

        Ms. Hollister, 49, will be the first Ohio governor to serve on a short-term basis since 1957, when John W. Brown held the office for 11 days.

        After the ceremony, she'll swear in her Cabinet — all members of Mr. Voinovich's team — and play host to a punch and cookies reception in the Statehouse basement.

        Next week, Ms. Hollister is expected to sign a farmland preservation law, attend the opening session of the 123rd state General Assembly and make a few appointments to vacancies on state boards and courts. She's won't be handling clemency requests from prisoners or proposing legislation, but will have the full authority of governor, aides say.

        Ms. Hollister, the state's 66th governor, will work out of the governor's ceremonial Statehouse office but retain access to her lieutenant governor's office in the Riffe Tower. She'll live in a guest room of the governor's mansion in Bexley until Jan. 11. That's when Republican Bob Taft, elected to a four-year term Nov. 3, will be sworn in.

        Mr. Voinovich, governor since January 1991, already has packed up his office belongings. His speeches, memos, letters, press releases, and other official papers will be archived at his alma mater, Ohio University in Athens.

        “The walls are pretty bare over here,” said Patricia Madigan, a Voinovich office spokeswoman. “It's been a balancing act of getting everything packed and being able to keep the files you need to do your job.”


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