Why Didn’t Former Ohio Gov. Celeste Run for President? His New Book Has the Answer 

Former Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste visited Kent State Tuesday for a signing featuring his new book, "In the Heart of It All, An Unvarnished Account of My Life in Public Service," in which, among other topics, he encourages young people to think about public service. 

According to Celeste, if young people build a constituency for change, they can make a difference. 

“I think young people today are not so interested in the political parties, but they are interested in the issues and how they affect their lives,” Celeste said. “It’s no accident that people are demonstrating outside today (the pro-life demonstrators on Risman Plaza) there because they know they need to influence young people.” 

"In the Heart of It All," which is Celeste’s first book, chronicles Celeste’s journey from his childhood in Northeast Ohio to Yale University, where he graduated magna cum laude; Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar; through the years in which he served as governor, from January 1983 to January 1991; and beyond. The book was published by Kent State University Press. 

Former Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste visited Kent State for a book signing.

When asked what he thinks of the polarization that permeates politics today, Celeste attributes it to many things, including the growth of cable television and social media and how gerrymandering political boundaries has given rise to more extreme positions.  

“I’m dismayed by the uncivility,” he said. “The language is cruder, and the elbows are sharper.” 

Celeste’s career in politics began in 1970 when he was elected to the first of two terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. He was elected lieutenant governor and served from 1974 to 1978. Then he was appointed as director of the Peace Corps under President Jimmy Carter. Two years later, he was elected governor of Ohio, chairing the Democratic Governors’ Association. 

After leaving public office Celeste became a managing partner in the consulting firm of Celeste & Sabety Ltd. in Columbus. He returned to public service in 1997, when he because U.S. ambassador to India under President Bill Clinton, serving until 2001. 

In 2002, Celeste was inaugurated as the 12th president of Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where he served until 2011.  

Celeste hopes to achieve a few other personal goals with his first book, including sharing with his family and friends the journey they have taken together and answering one question that he is always asked: Why didn’t he run for president? 

To get the answer to that question, you must buy the book, Celeste says with a chuckle. 

Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste's new book

Get the book at The Kent State University Press. 

POSTED: Tuesday, April 25, 2023 03:25 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 3, 2023 03:41 PM
April McClellan-Copeland