Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Former 6th District Congressman Charlie Wilson died in Florida on Sunday following complications from a stroke he suffered in February. He was 70 years old. Wilson first won the 6th District seat after Democrat Ted Strickland left office in 2006, and then lost it to current Rep. Bill Johnson in the 2010 election. He attempted again, unsuccessfully, to regain the district in 2012.
The Wilson family released a statement Sunday afternoon.
“Throughout his extraordinary life, Congressman Wilson was motivated by a desire to serve his country and a passion for the causes most important to the constituents of southeast and east Ohio. Congressman Wilson served with honor, dignity and an unwavering sense of civic responsibility to the families of our region. Charlie will be remembered for his boundless energy, his honest approach, and his dedication to improving the lives of our future generations. For 14 years Southeast and east Ohio had a champion serving as their voice in Columbus and Washington and our communities are better places for his service.”
Born in Dillonvale, Ohio, in 1943, Wilson was a small business owner of businesses operated throughout the Ohio Valley. In 1996, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, where he served until 2004, when he was elected to the Ohio Senate. After two years in the Ohio Senate, Wilson won his historic write-in campaign in 2006, filling the congressional seat vacated by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
He lost the seat to current Rep. Bill Johnson (R-6th) in 2010.
“LeeAnn and I were saddened to hear of the passing of former Congressman Charlie Wilson,” Johnson said. “Although Charlie and I were political opponents, we were never enemies. He served with honor in the Ohio state legislature and in Congress. We will be making a contribution in his memory to the scholarship fund named for him at Ohio University Eastern and we encourage others to do so, as well. May God’s healing and grace be with Charlie Wilson’s family in this time of sorrow.”
While campaigning to regain the seat in 2012, Wilson told the Daily Times he was proud that while he was in Congress for four years (2006-2010) he supported the American Recovery Act, which he said brought $75 millions to Scioto County — including $4.5 million to Portsmouth City Schools, $1.9 million to the Valley School District in Lucasville, $750,000 to Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Authority, $65,000 to Portsmouth Public Library. He said money has also been given to Bloom-Vernon Schools, Northwest Schools, and the Ohio Department of Transportation.
“These are monies that are brought home that can help build our infrastructure in Scioto County. I want to be able to talk about this. I want people to see what we did for Shawnee State and for Community Action. Ohio led the nation in weatherization on homes (through Community Action programs),” Wilson said in June 2012.
Johnson defeated Wilson in the November election to hold on to the 6th District.
Wilson suffered a stroke on Feb. 21 while vacationing in Florida. He was readmitted to a Florida hospital Saturday night and passed away at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, at the age of 70.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or email@example.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTWriter.