Growing up in Yellow Springs, OH, Fran and Mike DeWine met in the first grade — and in June, celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary! As Fran says, “Our lives have really been focused on our family, our kids, and public service. With eight children and now 20 grandchildren, there really hasn’t been time for much else!”
“Fran not only holds our family together, but she also keeps us focused on what’s really important,” says Mike. “Fran is a great cook, and sitting around the dinner table with family has always been such an important part of our lives — just being together and talking and, of course, eating Fran’s food!”
It was Fran’s passion for children that led Mike and Fran to help Father Tom Hagan and his humanitarian organization, Hands Together (handstogether.org). They run a school and feeding program in the poorest slum in Haiti. The school is named after their late daughter Becky. Each year at Christmas time, Fran collects thousands of small gifts for the children at the school, who would otherwise have nothing.
“Fran is really a better campaigner than I am,” says Mike. “People love to meet her — and they love the recipe books she writes and passes out. In each of my political races, Fran always campaigns in all 88 counties, and many times, she uncovers problems that need to be addressed in our communities.” Additionally, each year, Fran organizes the DeWine Family Ice Cream Social — a day-long family picnic and old-fashioned political rally. She and several of her friends make 150 homemade fruit pies to help feed the 2,000 people who usually attend.
Mike started his career in public service in the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, where he was elected Prosecutor in 1976. “In his heart, Mike has always been a Prosecutor,” says Fran. “Every problem that exists in your county eventually comes across the Prosecutor’s desk. What he learned there shaped his judgment — and it is where his commitment to protecting Ohio families and children first began.”
Mike has served as an Ohio State Senator, as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, as Ohio Lieutenant Governor, and as a U.S. Senator. In each of the offices he has held, he has focused particular attention on efforts to protect children, ranging from making sure the prescriptions kids take are safe and effective to helping foster children get into permanent, stable, loving homes. He wrote Ohio’s first truly tough drunk driving law. He has been a leading proponent for highway safety. And, he has been a staunch advocate for victims of crime.
Now, as Ohio’s 50th Attorney General, Mike continues his commitment to families. “Mike loves his job!” says Fran. “Each day,” according to Mike, “I have the chance to help people — whether it is testing DNA evidence for victims of crime, warning the elderly about grandparent scams, training and assisting local law enforcement, or fighting the prescription drugs and heroin epidemic. I get to wake up every morning, go to work, and help protect Ohio families. I couldn’t ask for a better job!”