Columbus, Ohio - The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) announced today their endorsement of Congressman Ted Strickland to be Ohio's next governor.

"As a collective body of African-American legislators, we are convinced that Ted Strickland is the best candidate to help improve the quality of life of all people across Ohio regardless of their race, economic status or religious beliefs," said Representative Barbara Sykes (D-Akron), OLBC President.

Eighteen African-American Ohio state legislators make up OLBC.

"Civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. consistently talked about how shameful it is for one of the most prosperous countries in the world to have high poverty rates and an educational system that remains separate and unequal. He said that we have the resources to make the change, but many of our leaders simply don't have the will," said Rep. Sykes. "Under the leadership of our current administration the gap between the have's and have-not's has grown. Poverty rates are up, and our public school system that provides hope and inspiration to the majority of our children has not received adequate support."

"We endorse Strickland because he has pledged to be an ethical and law-abiding governor by providing the support that schools need to help our children reach their full potential. Real social change in the African-American community depends on this goal," said Sykes. "He knows that good-paying jobs and affordable healthcare are keys to developing healthy families and strong communities. Strickland is a leader who has the will to provide hope, access to opportunity, and a safety net to those in need."

"I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus," Strickland said. "This group of outstanding legislators from around our state understands the problems facing Ohio. And I look forward to working with these leaders as governor to improve the lives of all Ohioans. Too many Ohioans lack living-wage jobs, quality health care and decent educational opportunities."

"Working together, we can meet the need for good jobs, especially within our inner-cities. Our schools can be revitalized. We can make college affordable for our young people. And we can work to make sure every Ohioan has access to high-quality and affordable health care," Strickland concluded.