I wrote about Bill O’Neill here last spring. O’Neill was the “no money from nobody” candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court. He doesn’t accept campaign donations. O’Neill is a Democrat, although he was not the Party choice this year partly because he won’t accept campaign contributions.
Here’s his rather interesting bio:
He is a former Judge, an Army Officer, a Registered Nurse and an adoptive parent. Upon graduation from Ohio University with a degree in Journalism he found himself on active duty with the United States Army three weeks later. As a young Lieutenant he served in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal. He retired from the Ohio National Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. In 2007 Governor Ted Strickland inducted Bill O’Neill into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
Bill’s work career has been varied and interesting. He has been an apprentice Ironworker (Local 17); worked as a reporter for a small town newspaper (Sandusky Register); a television reporter for a major television station (Channel 4, Columbus); a union organizer for both the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO and the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA); a small business owner in Geneva On the Lake; a small town lawyer (Geneva); and a Pediatric Emergency Room nurse at Hillcrest Hospital, an affiliate of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Bill went to law school on the GI Bill and served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio for twelve years before being elected to the 11th District Court of Appeals in 1996. He served two terms as Presiding Judge on the Court and sat by assignment on the Supreme Court of Ohio. In 2004 and 2006 Bill was the Democratic nominee for the Supreme Court and his legendary refusal to accept contributions as a Judge “No Money From No Body” landed him on the front page of the Sunday New York Times.
At age 50, Bill went back to school to become a nurse, and now he works nights in the pediatric ER of Hillcrest Hospital, an affiliate of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He’s a proud father of four grown children, whom he raised alone after their mother, Shaylah, died in a car accident in 1995. His son Shawn served as a Loadmaster on a C-130 in Iraq and Afghanistan with the United States Air Force. Shawn’s twin sister Katie was a community organizer in Portland Oregon for several years and is now a Senior at Ohio University. Tiffany O’Neill, another Ohio University graduate, is a co-owner and founder of Vegan Sweet Tooth in the Cleveland area; and Brandon, the youngest O’Neill child attended The Ohio State University and Kent State. Today he is a logistical manager living in the Cleveland warehouse district.
Here’s the 2006 Times piece referenced in his bio.
Guess what? He won:
It is the third time O’Neill has run for the high court, and he has refused to accept campaign contributions in any of the contests. He is a registered nurse in the pediatric emergency department in a hospital near Cleveland.
A major theme of O’Neill’s campaign was that “money and judges don’t mix.” He proposes charging a $10 fee on every lawsuit filed in Ohio, which would raise money for judicial candidates and prevent them from taking contributions from donors who he says could influence the judges. Under O’Neill’s plan, Supreme Court candidates would receive $1 million each, with lesser amounts provided to lower-court candidates.
Last weekend, an Ohio State Bar Association committee asked O’Neill to remove materials from his website that implied justices could be bought by campaign contributions. He refused.
This is O’Neill from 2006:
Judge O’Neill’s assertion that seats on the Supreme Court are for sale infuriates many in the legal establishment in Ohio, and in July 2004 the Disciplinary Counsel of the Ohio Supreme Court began an investigation into whether Judge O’Neill had violated judicial ethics by making similar statements in the last campaign.
Judge O’Neill laughed when asked if the investigation worried him.
“I am a Vietnam veteran, and I lost my wife 10 years ago,” he said. “I raised four kids by myself. When you talk about fear, I fear big things in life. Being hauled before a disciplinary counsel does not qualify.”