Jeannette Marie Hoffman Schmidt, (born November 29, 1951) is the U.S. Representative for Ohio's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2005. She is a member of the Republican Party. The district stretches from eastern Cincinnati to Portsmouth.
Schmidt is the second female Ohio Republican to be elected to Congress without succeeding her husband and the first woman to represent the Cincinnati area in the House. She won the Ohio 2nd congressional district seat in a special election on August 2, 2005, by 3.5 percentage points over Democrat and Iraq War veteran Paul Hackett, amid national attention to the race because of Hackett's strong views on the war. The margin of her victory led many Democrats to claim a victory for their party, since the district had been reliably Republican for the past 30 years, and to forecast trouble for the Republicans in 2006.
Despite these forecasts, Schmidt defeated former representative Bob McEwen in a hard-fought Republican primary in May 2006 and Democrat Victoria Wells Wulsin, a medical doctor, in 2006 with 50.4% of the vote. She was re-elected in 2008, winning with 45% of the vote, and in 2010, winning with 58.6%.
Early life, education and career
Schmidt, born in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a lifelong resident of Clermont County's Miami Township, along the eastern shore of Little Miami River near Milford and Loveland.
One of four children (two daughters, two sons) of Augustus ("Gus") and Jeannette Hoffman, she has a twin sister, Jennifer Black. Her father made his money in the savings and loan industry, then ran an auto racing team that competed in the Indianapolis 500.
She earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Cincinnati in 1974. Schmidt worked in her father's bank, the Midwestern Savings Association, as a branch manager from 1971 to 1978.
Schmidt was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1984. She was a fitness instructor from 1984 to 1986, when she began a four year career as a schoolteacher.
Early political career
Schmidt was elected as a Miami Township trustee in 1989, finishing first of three candidates for two seats and winning 4,362 votes. When Clermont County Commissioner Jerry McBride resigned in 1991 to become a judge, Schmidt was one of four candidates to replace him, but was not appointed by the Clermont County Republican Party. In her 1993 bid for reelection, she finished first in a field of four, taking 3,644 votes.
In 1995, she traveled to Russia to offer instruction about political campaigning in a country that had little experience of free elections. On her trip she ran in Moscow's Red Square: "Did I ever feel unsafe? No.
And would I jog through Central Park in New York? No way."
One major issue during her service on the Board of Trustees was one common in Ohio: a city, in this case Milford, was annexing parts of the township and hurting its tax base. She and other trustees lobbied the Ohio General Assembly for new laws to protect townships from such annexations. In 1993, a panel of Miami Township residents recommended the township incorporate to protect itself from annexations, to have greater control over its territory, and to obtain more money from the state. However, Schmidt as a trustee was not a participant in this effort, saying she had to be a "cheerleader" on the sides. (The incorporation effort failed.)
Schmidt was reelected to a third term in 1997, finishing first in a field of three with 5,110 votes.
"Jean has been an excellent trustee and has done so much for this community. It is going to be hard to find someone that's as committed to the township as she has been," said David Duckworth, Miami Township administrator, when she resigned her trustee seat to enter the Ohio House. The remaining two trustees appointed Mary Makley Wolff to the remainder of the term.
Ohio House of Representatives
In 2000 she ran for the Ohio House of Representatives seat being vacated by Sam Bateman, who was prevented by term limits from running again. She told The Cincinnati Post that before Bateman had been appointed to the seat in the early 1980s, Clermont County Republican leaders "offered me the job on a silver platter" but she turned them down because her daughter was only four years old at the time. But in 2000, her daughter was in college and she decided to run. Unopposed in the March primary, The Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed her in the general election#American_usage, writing "Seldom has a choice been more obvious than that between Republican Jean Schmidt and Democrat Sherrill Callahan." Schmidt was easily elected to the 124th Ohio General Assembly from the 71st House District by defeating Callahan, a retired high school principal from Pierce Township. Schmidt received 36,433 votes (70.4 percent) to Callahan's 15,327 (29.6 percent).
Her district was entirely within Clermont County, containing Miami Township as well as Batavia, Goshen, Pierce, Stonelick and Union Townships, plus the cities of Amelia, Batavia and Milford, and the Clermont County part of the city of Loveland. After the redistricting necessitated by the 2000 census, her district became the 66th and contained the same territory minus Pierce and Stonelick Townships."
In 2004, she ran for the 14th District seat in the Ohio Senate to replace Senate President Doug White, who was retiring. The Senate seat included Clermont, Brown, Adams and Scioto counties and part of Lawrence County. Her opponent for the Republican nomination was Tom Niehaus, a fellow member of the Ohio House from New Richmond whose 88th District represented the half of Clermont County outside her district plus Brown and Adams Counties to the east. Schmidt told the Enquirer "The fear from many of the people I meet is that because the next senator will come from Clermont County, they will be underrepresented. But if you know anything about me, I don't under-represent anybody." She also said she worried about the state budget: "We do have a history of overspending in Ohio. But it's not just recent history. It's a 40-year-old habit." The Enquirer was dismayed by advertisements from the Ohio Taxpayers Association "twisting the two candidates' voting records to Schmidt's advantage" and endorsed Niehaus.
Schmidt had endorsements from key state leaders such as Ohio State Treasurer Joe Deters and Speaker of the Ohio House Larry Householder. The campaign was marred by allegations that Householder's staff had improperly tried to obtain Niehaus's withdrawal from the race and that Householder had told Niehaus's supporters to donate money to Schmidt's campaign. In the initial count of the Republican primary vote on March 2, 2004, she led by just 62 votes. A recount was automatically ordered, which reversed the outcome. Schmidt ultimately lost by just 22 votes: 17,076 (49.97%) to Niehaus's 17,098 (50.03%). She told The Cincinnati Enquirer on election night "This is the way my whole life has been — one tough race after another."
U.S. House of Representatives
In Congress, Schmidt sponsored non-binding resolutions that states hit by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita should adopt a uniform statewide building code (H. Con. Res. 285); that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance were not an unconstitutional endorsement of religion (H. Res. 453); and supporting Gold Star Mothers (H. J. Res. 61). As of 2005, she was the original sponsor of one bill, H.R. 4180, a campaign finance reform measure "to require communications that consist of prerecorded telephone calls to meet the disclosure and disclaimer requirements applicable to general public campaign communications transmitted through radio." She cosponsored bills to provide ultrasounds to pregnant mothers (H.R. 216); to require women having abortions be "fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child" (H.R. 356); to allow free mail from families to servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan (H.R. 923); to require the Food and Drug Administration withdraw its approval of the abortifacient drug RU-486 because of safety concerns (H.R. 1079); the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act", which would repeal District of Columbia law forbidding residents from owning guns (H.R. 1288); to ban human cloning (H.R. 1357); to repeal the excise tax on telephones (H.R. 1898); to forbid federal courts from hearing cases on the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance (H.R. 2389); and to limit the use of eminent domain by the states, a reaction to the Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. New London (H.R. 4128).
Schmidt and her husband, Peter W. Schmidt have one child, a daughter, Emilie (born in 1978). A Roman Catholic, she has been a member of Elizabeth Ann Seton Church since 1978. She is a marathon runner.
Schmidt is a member of the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, the Clermont County 20/20 Committee, Clermont County League of Women Voters, the Clermont County Agricultural Society, Clermont County Township Association, and the Milford-Miami Township Chamber of Commerce.
She was elected chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Right to Life organization in 2005. Schmidt is a trustee of the Clermont County Library, having previously served from 1980 to 1992 and 1994 to 2000. She was reappointed to the board in 2005. She is also a director of the Mercy Hospital Clermont Foundation Board.
January 11th, 2012