I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. My father was a carpenter, my mother a secretary, and my stepfather a graphic artist. My jobs as a teenager included delivering newspapers and working in a grocery store, restaurant, and plant nursery. My senior year in high school I was president of the student body and a captain of the track and cross country teams.
I attended the Honors College at the University of Cincinnati for two years where I earned a varsity letter in cross country as a freshman and wrote for the school newspaper. I transferred to Kent State University as a junior where I continued my involvement in student government and my social activism, including organizing several of the annual May 4th Commemorations. In 1977 I graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Sociology from Kent State University, after which I attended and obtained a law degree from Ohio State University Law School.
After law school I opened a small private practice in Columbus, Ohio practicing civil, criminal and domestic law. In 1984 I joined the Franklin County Public Defender’s office as a staff attorney where I handled over 4000 cases representing poor central Ohioans. In 1987 I became an Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Section of the Attorney General’s Office, prosecuting companies defrauding consumers. In the Attorney General’s Office I headed a successful effort to pass legislation to protect consumers from predatory mortgage lenders. I was also a lead attorney on Ohio’s historic lawsuit holding the tobacco industry accountable for misconduct in advertising to children and lying about its product. In the AG’s office I was awarded the Attorney General’s Innovation and Excellence Award in 2003 by Attorney General Petro, and the David K. Watson Award for Exemplary Service to the State of Ohio by Attorney General Cordray in 2010. I retired from the AG’s office at the end of 2010 after 23 years of public service.
I have been a lifelong social and economic justice activist. I registered as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War and later engaged in civil disobedience at Kent State. I have been an attorney for Occupy Columbus and assisted a number of activist organizations with legal issues. I am also an active member of the Green Party, Central Ohioans for Peace, Move to Amend and other pro-democracy organizations.
I have two grown sons, live in Worthington, and am an avid hiker and cyclist.