Join CMC and host Jo Ingles, Reporter/Producer, Statehouse News, for an in-depth conversation with former Ohio governor Richard F. Celeste, author of the recent book, In the Heart of It All.
Celeste rose from humble beginnings in northeast Ohio to reach the Ohio governor's residence and beyond. His new book recounts Celeste's childhood in Lakewood, Ohio, where his politically ambitious father eventually served as mayor. Awarded a scholarship to attend Yale University, Celeste studied history and later became a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford; while living overseas, he met and quickly married his first wife, Dagmar Braun. Upon returning from Oxford, Celeste expected to begin a teaching career but was recruited to serve as a liaison for Peace Corps volunteers in Latin America, and the young couple relocated to Washington, DC, where they became friendly with Chet and Steb Bowles. When President Kennedy appointed Chet Bowles US ambassador to India, he invited Dick to work as his personal assistant. There, under Bowles's tutelage, Dick began to consider a political career of his own.
Celeste returned to Ohio and successfully ran for the Ohio House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1970. After serving two terms, he was elected lieutenant governor in 1974 but lost the 1978 governor's race by a slim margin. Celeste worked in DC as director of the Peace Corps while plotting his next move, and in 1982, his gubernatorial campaign resulted in a landslide victory. He served two terms as Ohio's governor, tackling an epic savings and loan crisis along with mental health reform and job creation. He considered but dismissed a presidential campaign in 1988. He went on to serve as ambassador to India under President Clinton, traveling there with his second wife, Jacqueline Lundquist, and bringing his career full circle.