Thomas C. Sawyer

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Tom Sawyer
File:Thomas C. Sawyer 107th Congress.jpg
Member of the Ohio Senate
from the 28th district
Assumed office
February 20, 2007
Preceded by Kimberly Zurz
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 14th district
In office
January 3, 1987-January 3, 2003
Preceded by John F. Seiberling
Succeeded by Steve LaTourette
58th Mayor of Akron, Ohio
In office
January 9, 1984 – December 30, 1986
Preceded by Roy Ray
Succeeded by Don Plusquellic
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the 44th district
In office
January 3, 1977-December 31, 1983
Preceded by Paul Wingard
Succeeded by Tom Watkins
Personal details
Born (1945-08-15) August 15, 1945 (age 76)
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Joyce Sawyer
Children 1
Residence Akron, Ohio, U.S.
Alma mater University of Akron (B.A., M.A.)
Profession Educator

Thomas C. "Tom" Sawyer (born August 15, 1945) is the state Senator for the 28th District of the Ohio Senate. Previously, he served in the United States Congress, in the Ohio House of Representatives and as the Mayor of Akron. His district includes almost all of the city of Akron. He is a Democrat.

Life and career

Sawyer was born in Akron, Ohio. After graduating from a local public high school (Sawyer originally had attended the prestigious Western Reserve Academy, but was expelled in his senior year for academic dishonesty), Sawyer received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Akron in 1968, and joined the Alpha Phi Chapter of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity. Later, Sawyer earned a master of arts degree from Akron in 1970. Sawyer and his wife Joyce have one child and reside in Akron.

Sawyer worked as an English teacher and then was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, where he served from 1977 to 1983. In late 1983, he was elected Mayor of Akron. In 1984, he bet mustaches with Akron-area Republican Tom Watkins on the outcome of the Mondale/Reagan presidential election; he has been clean-shaven ever since.

After only one term as mayor, he entered the Democratic primary for Ohio's 14th Congressional District, based in Akron, in 1986. The retiring incumbent, eight-term Democrat John F. Seiberling, endorsed Sawyer as his successor, enabling him to win handily despite being in a crowded seven-way primary. He then faced a credible Republican challenger in Summit County District Attorney Lynn Slaby, and won by seven points. He was reelected seven times, only facing serious opposition once, in 1994. That year, Slaby challenged him again and held him to 52 percent of the vote.

The redistricting following the 2000 census eliminated Sawyer's district. Most of Akron was placed in the 13th District, represented by fellow Democrat Sherrod Brown. However, Sawyer's home was placed in the Youngstown-based 17th District. The district had been held by Democrat Jim Traficant until his expulsion from the House in 2002. Traficant tried to run for his old seat as an independent. Traficant's former protégé, state senator Tim Ryan, also ran for the seat. The new 17th district was much more heavily pro-labor than Sawyer's old district and Sawyer was seen as being insufficiently pro-labor as a result of his support of the North American Free Trade Agreement. In an upset, Sawyer lost the 2002 Democratic primary to Ryan, who went on to win the seat in the general election. Sawyer ran in the 2006 Democratic primary for the 13th District--the real contest in this heavily Democratic district. He was the front-runner, and endorsed by the major papers, but lost to Ryan in a six-way race.

In 2006 Sawyer was elected to the Ohio State Board of Education, District #7. He received 54% of the vote to Republican incumbent Deborah Owens-Fink's 29%, Green candidate David Kovacs's 12%, and John Jones's 5%. The race received attention due to Owens-Fink's promotion of intelligent design creationism in the classroom. Sawyer campaigned on his experience as an educator and a politician.[1]

Ohio Senate

In February 2007, Sawyer was elected by members of the Ohio Senate Democratic caucus to fill the Ohio State Senate seat of Kimberly Zurz, who vacated it to run the Ohio Department of Commerce. In the November 2008 general election, Sawyer held his Senate seat by defeating Republican James Carr.[2]

In 2012, Sawyer was elected to a second full term, defeating Republican Robert Roush 71.5% to 28.5%.[3] He served as Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee from 2012-14.

Committee assignments

Electoral history

Ohio Senate 28th District: 2008 to 2012
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
2012 Tom Sawyer 104,697 71.88% Robert Roush 40,952 28.12%
2008 Tom Sawyer 108,168 68.36% James Carr 50,064 31.64%
Ohio's 14th Congressional District: 1986 to 2000
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct Libertarian Votes Pct Independent Votes Pct
2000 Tom Sawyer 149,184 64.80% Rick Wood 71,432 31.00% William Mcdaniel Jr. 5,603 2.40% Walter Keith 3,869 1.70%
1998 Tom Sawyer 106,020 62.73% Tom Watkins 62,997 37.27%
1996 Tom Sawyer 124,136 54.34% Joyce George 95,307 41.72% Ryan Lewis 16 0.01% Terry Wilkinson 8,976 3.93%
1994 Tom Sawyer 89,093 51.90% Lynn Slaby 76,090 48.10%
1992 Tom Sawyer 125,430 67.80% Robert Morgan 64,090 32.20%
1990 Tom Sawyer 90,090 59.60% Jean Bender 66,090 40.40%
1988 Tom Sawyer 159,090 74.70% Loretta Lang 50,090 25.30%
1986 Tom Sawyer 86,004 53.70% Lynn Slaby 73,230 46.30%

*Italics indicate incumbent


  1. "Open enrollment study challenges conventional wisdom". Akron Beacon Journal. 2015-03-04. Retrieved 2015-03-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Ohio Senator: November 4, 2008, Ohio Secretary of State
  3. Husted, Jon 2012 general election results (2012-11-06)

See also

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John F. Seiberling
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 14th congressional district

Succeeded by
Steve LaTourette