YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Tuesday, Jan. 3 will mark the first time in 36 years that either Bob or Michele Lepore-Hagan hasn’t held a position in the Ohio legislature. We recently talked with the Hagans about their years in politics and the decisions they have made.
First News anchor Stan Boney sat with Bob and his wife of 36 years Michele in the living room of their North Side Youngstown home, 12 days before Michele’s tenure as a state representative was to expire.
“She has done an incredible job of emphasizing education, educating our kids. She was the best and I think women understand it much better and they should be doing much more,” Bob said.
Bob was first elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1986.
In the above photo, Bob is on the left, his brother Tim — a Cuyahoga County commissioner — is on the right and his father, also named Bob, is in the middle, who was also a state representative.
“My father and I were the only father and son to serve together, simultaneously in the Ohio legislature. Good history there,” Bob said.
Bob served continuously in the Ohio legislature for 28 years until term-limited. His wife Michele then won his seat.
“The women in the legislature that were his colleagues were just ruthless. They would not give up. They pushed me and pushed me,” Michele said.
Now, Michele is term-limited. She’s most proud of guiding the state through the pandemic and returning control of the Youngstown City Schools to the local school board.
“That was a really significant, successful moment for me,” Michele said.
Among Bob’s accomplishments: requiring all state buildings to use U.S. made steel, private prison regulations and a child health care bill. He also lost three elections: for Congress, Youngstown mayor and state senator.
Between the two Hagans, they were 16 and 3 in elections.
“Not bad,” Bob said.