The youngest of six children, Betty Sutton was raised in Barberton. Her dad worked at the local boiler factory and her mom at the public library. She worked her way through college at Kent State and – while still in law school – won the first race she entered: Barberton City Council. She then went on to serve as Vice President of the Summit County Council and in the Ohio House of Representatives.
In 2006, Betty successfully won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 13th Congressional District, where she served until 2012. Her election to Congress made Betty the first Democratic woman in Ohio to serve as a legislator at the local, county, state and federal levels.
From day one in Congress, Betty fought for Ohio working families and against unfair trade policies that hurt Ohio workers. She fought alongside Ohio businesses and workers at the International Trade Commission, helping to restore the jobs of Ohioans who were being put out of work due to the illegal “dumping” of steel pipe and tires.
In 2009, Betty sponsored the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Act, which created the “Cash for Clunkers” program. According to the US Department of Transportation, Cash for Clunkers saved or created more than 60,000 jobs during the second half of 2009. Approximately 700,000 vehicles were sold through her plan, with over 32,000 purchases in Ohio. According to a Maritz Automotive Research Group study, the program generated over a half-million new vehicle sales, with 250,000 “halo sales” – sales to customers who visited a dealership because of the program and bought a vehicle after learning they did not qualify for the one-time incentive.
Betty worked to provide veterans with the benefits they earned. When soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were assigned extra tours of duty under the “stop loss” policy, Betty led a bipartisan effort to make sure they were paid appropriately, making retroactive compensation available to 185,000 service members. Her work for our veterans earned her the Legislator of the Year award from the Ohio American Veterans Association.
When Ohio firefighters made Betty aware of challenges they faced, she found solutions to help protect and strengthen funding through the Department of Homeland Security to allow fire departments to rehire or retain firefighters and fund needed equipment and training. She helped establish the National Center for Education and Research on Corrosion and Materials Performance at the University of Akron, which included the nation’s first undergraduate degree program in corrosion engineering. The center is leading the way in developing and producing the cost-cutting materials for this emerging industry.
In her last term, Betty introduced the ‘American Jobs First’ Initiative, a package of four bills that would help revive American manufacturing and put Americans back to work without requiring any major new spending. Her goal was to strengthen existing Made in America laws and level the playing field for American manufacturers.
In 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Betty to be the Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. As the executive in charge of leading the U.S. operations of this international waterway, Betty successfully worked to ensure the safe, efficient and reliable operation of the waterway to support jobs and growth in the area.
With the recent change of presidential administrations, Betty has returned to her home in Copley, Ohio, where she happily resides with her husband Doug Corwon, who is a federal mediator, and her two rescue dogs, Oscar and Cleo.