AKRON, OH (WTOL) - Democratic candidate for governor Richard Cordray announced Betty Sutton as his running mate in Akron on Wednesday.
Sutton will join the ticket as candidate for Lt. Governor.
Cordray chose small dinner the Akron Family Restaurant to make the announcement because it is an example of the small business and middle-class Ohioans taking the biggest hit.
His message has been centered around what he calls "kitchen table" issues, or the things that keep Ohioans up at night.
"I'm honored to join forces with Betty to wage this campaign, both because of the vision we share to make Ohio fairer, and because of her track record of delivering results for Ohioans and their families. Betty know show to take on the tough political fights and win, and will be a formidable partner in the coming months," Cordray said.
Both Sutton and Cordray worked their way up in Ohio government and served under the Obama Administration.
Sutton was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, making her the first Democratic woman in Ohio to serve as a legislator at the local, county and federal levels.
Cordray said he picked Sutton for Lt. Governor after they talked about how much they had in common during their political careers and their belief that it's time to return home and serve Ohioans
"My mom worked at the library and my dad was a boilermaker, and both worked hard to put food on the table and take care of our family. Like Rich, I'm concerned that the opportunities we had have slipped out of reach for far too many of our fellow Ohioans. I'm excited to join with Rich and work on the issues that matter the most to Ohioans, like improving education, supporting local communities and working together to raise wages and bring down the cost of housing, healthcare and college," said Sutton.
In Toledo and across the state of Ohio, communities have been hit hard by the Opioid Epidemic. For Richard Cordray and his new running mate Betty Sutton it's an issue that will be on the top of their list.
The two didn't shy away from placing blame on the two top Ohio Republicans also running on the same ticket for the governor's seat, Attorney General Mike Dewine and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
"They've controlled state government, all of it, for the last 20 of 24 years. This opioid epidemic has exploded during this last eight years. And what have they done about it. How have they been effective about it. They bare a weight of responsible here," said Cordray.
Sutton agrees, saying Ohioans will benefit from their experience working in local government to Washington.
"Multi-dimensional challenge. It's short term implications. It's long term implications. I feel that the background we are going to bring to bare to coordinate our response is going to make a difference," said Sutton.
When asked if other Democrats running for governor should team up, they had no comment. Those running on either ticket have until February 7 to announce their running mates.
Attorney General Mike DeWine who is running for Ohio's governor says he already has a plan in place to curb the opioid epidemic in Ohio.