Ted Strickland was born on August 4, 1941, in Lucasville, Ohio. A strong advocate of education, he graduated from Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky in 1963, with his undergraduate degree. In 1967, he received a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological School and, in 1980, a doctorate in counseling psychology in 1980.
Strickland has held numerous positions in both the private and public sectors. An ordained Methodist minister, he has served in ministerial positions, as well as worked as the director of a Methodist youth home. He also taught psychology courses at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. In the late 1970s, he also pursued a career in politics. He ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1976, 1978, and 1980 as a member of the Democratic Party. Strickland lost all three elections.
Strickland retired from politics for the next decade, but in 1992, he again sought election to the United States House of Representatives, winning this time. Unfortunately, for Strickland, Southern Ohio voters did not reelect him in 1994, choosing the Republican candidate instead. Undaunted, Strickland again sought this House seat in 1996, winning the election. Southern Ohio voters reelected him in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004. While in the House, Strickland became known as a strong advocate for job creation in Appalachia. He also has emphasized more federal funding for education.
In 2006, Strickland received the Democratic Party's nomination for the Ohio governor and ran against Kenneth Blackwell, the Republican Party's candidate. Strickland's campaign emphasized more and fairer educational funding and job creation. In an election dominated by the Democratic Party, Strickland handily defeated Blackwell.