By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, Associated Press Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Gov. Bob Taft (pictured, right) announced on Wednesday that Jennette Bradley, a Columbus city councilwoman, will be his running mate in November.
"Jennette is strong, serious and an independent voice on city council," Taft said as he made the announcement. He stood in front of a campaign banner reading "Taft Bradley 2002" and acknowledged chants of "Four more years" from the crowd.
"I'm proud to have her on my team," he said.
Bradley, 49, also is senior vice president of public funds for Huntington National Bank.
"Throughout my professional career, I've worked hard to represent the interests of everyday Ohioans," Bradley said. "As lieutenant governor, I'll be able to expand my focus to a statewide level."
Bradley's selection means both the Republican and Democratic tickets will have black female members of Columbus City Council as lieutenant governor candidates.
Democratic candidate Tim Hagan, a former Cuyahoga County commissioner, has chosen Charleta Tavares as his running mate.
Before this election, neither major party had nominated a black woman for lieutenant governor.
Taft needed a running mate because his current lieutenant governor, Maureen O'Connor, is running for the Ohio Supreme Court. O'Connor plans to remain in office until her term expires early next year.
Bradley, the lone Republican on the City Council, supports abortion rights and gay rights. She has focused on economic development, public safety and city parks during her tenure in office.
Bob Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, said Bradley's positions on social issues should not lessen her attractiveness to GOP voters.
"Diversity in the party as to geography and as to viewpoint is good," he said. "That we have an airing of those views within the party is always much better."
Bradley was elected in 1991 as the first black woman to serve on the council and finished as the top vote-getter in her last re-election in 1999.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)