Tom Sawyer leaves state school board for Senate

Tom Sawyer leaves state school board for Senate
Reginald Fields - Plain Dealer Bureau - 2/14/2007
Columbus -- Former Congressman Tom Sawyer, just three months removed from winning a nationally watched seat on the State Board of Education, is jumping back into legislative politics.

He was appointed to the Ohio Senate by Democrats who needed to fill a spot vacated by Kimberly Zurz of Green, who was appointed by Gov. Ted Strickland as director of the Department of Commerce.

Sawyer, who is also a former Akron mayor and 16-year congressman, used his politically connected name and a pro-evolution stance regarding public school science curriculum to win a nonpartisan election for the education board last November.

Ohio was watched across the country as board members debated whether students here should also be taught a form of creationism, called intelligent design, to explain how life began on Earth.

Sawyer was recruited by Help Ohio Public Education, a group of scientists angered by the intelligent design discussions, to take on Deborah Owens Fink, a University of Akron marketing professor who advocated for in telligent design.

Sawyer easily defeated Owens Fink, the longtime board incumbent.Sawyer's Senate term will run through 2008.

His replacement on the state education board will be appointed by Strickland.

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