“I go out and speak at events he can't get to,” she said. “I feel comfortable talking about him, but I like for him to talk about the issues.”
Frances Strickland, 64, recently sat in for her husband at a candidate's forum in Cincinnati. She also has visited Portsmouth twice recently on behalf of her husband.
Ted Strickland, a Lucasville native and U.S. Representative, will face former Ohio Rep. Bryan Flannery in the May 2 Democratic primary.
The winner will face either Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell or Attorney General Jim Petro in the November general election.
Frances Strickland is confident her husband will become governor.
“There is a lot cynicism about politics now,” she said. “People are tired of being fooled. The time is right for Ted. The voters are looking for someone who can put warmth back into politics. People want to know the governor cares about them.”
Frances Strickland said she is not surprised at how far her husband has come in the governor's race. She said that is partly because of the way he acts around his fellow Ohioans.
“Sometimes his staff says he stays too long talking with someone when he's out campaigning,” Frances Strickland said. “They want him to work the crowd better and see more people. But people feel engaged that he does care.”
Frances Strickland is an educational psychologist who attended Murray State University, the University of Colorado and the University of Kentucky.
It was at the latter school where she met her husband. The couple have no children.
Oftentimes, first ladies dedicate themselves to a cause. First lady Hope Taft is trying to spread literacy in the state. But potential new first lady Frances Strickland is not sure what she would do.
“I don't know what it would be, but I'm sure it would involve education,” Frances Strickland said. “Ted and I both care about what concerns others.”
She said presidential first lady Rosalynn Carter would be an example to follow if her husband wins the November election.
Away from the campaign trail, Frances Strickland likes backpacking and playing the guitar and piano.
“Music has always been an important part of my life,” she said.
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.