David J. Leland

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David J. Leland
David J. Leland.jpg
Member of the
Ohio House of Representatives
from the 22nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by John Patrick Carney
In office
January 3, 1983-December 31, 1984
Preceded by Larry Hughes
Succeeded by E.J. Thomas
Personal details
Born (1953-09-18) September 18, 1953 (age 64)
Political party Democratic
Residence Columbus, Ohio
Alma mater
Profession Attorney

David J. Leland (born September 18, 1953) is an Ohio politician, currently a member of the Ohio House of Representatives representing the 22nd House district, and a partner at litigation law firm Carpenter Lipps & Leland LLP in Columbus, Ohio, where he heads the firm's public policy and government regulation practice. Leland is the former Ohio Democratic Party Chair, a position he held from 1995 until 2002. More recently, Leland served as the Finance Chair and Senior Advisor to the successful 2006 gubernatorial campaign of Ted Strickland, for which Leland helped raise a record $17 million.

A candidate for Chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2005, Leland is one of Ohio's best-known lawyers, and has been active in state and national politics for over 36 years.

In November 2014, Leland was elected as State Representative of the 12th Ohio House District, having served as Representative of roughly the same district in the 115th Ohio General Assembly (1983-1985).

Early life and education[edit]

Leland spent his early life in Kansas before moving to Columbus during his senior year of high school. He graduated from Columbus North High School and The Ohio State University, and then studied at nearby Capital University Law School, where he was a member of the Capital Law Review and earned his J.D. in 1978.

Public service and political career[edit]

David J. Leland, Community.jpg

Leland became vice chairman of the Franklin County, Ohio Democratic Party at the age of 18.[1] He was also elected to serve as committeeman for Franklin County's 19th ward, a position he held for 23 years.

In 1973, at age 20, Leland ran unsuccessfully for election to the Columbus, Ohio Board of Education, coming in fourth (with just under 11% of the vote) in a field of nine candidates (including three incumbents) for three open seats. All three incumbents, including later Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court Thomas J. Moyer, were reelected.[2]

Elected at the age of 29 to a term as State Representative from Columbus and Clintonville in the 115th Ohio General Assembly (1983-1985), Leland was a major proponent of Ohio's collective bargaining law and was voted the outstanding freshman State Representative of that Assembly. He was elected to the first of his four terms as Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party in 1995 during Bill Clinton's tenure as president. A year later, Leland was appointed to the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee and served on the DNC's Executive Committee. Leland chaired Ohio's delegation to the 1996 and 2000 Democratic National Conventions.[1] On stepping down as state party chair in 1998, Leland said the biggest disappointment of his seven-year tenure was Republican Bob Taft's victory over Democratic candidate Lee Fisher in the 1998 gubernatorial race. [3]

In 2000, Clinton appointed Leland to the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) of the Federal Labor Relations Authority.[4] The FSIP resolves disputes between the government and federal labor unions.[5]

In 2002, Leland became national director of Vote Smart, a group which registered 2.7 million low-income and minority citizens as voters between 1982 and 2002.[3]

After Leland's terms at both the ODP and DNC concluded in 2002, he launched a bid for Democratic National Committee Chair in 2005, with the position going to former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean instead.[1]

Leland continued to contribute to state politics, serving as Finance Chair and Senior Advisor to Ted Strickland's gubernatorial campaign in 2006 and helping to raise a record $17 million as Strickland won both his party's primary and the general election with comfortable margins. Strickland was the first Democrat to be elected governor in Ohio since 1983. Leland also served as the President and CEO of the Strickland/Fisher Inaugural Committee.

In February 2012, Leland was reappointed as a member of the Franklin County (Ohio) Parks and Recreation Board of Trustees by the county Board of Commissioners.

2014 candidacy for Ohio House[edit]

On September 12, 2013, Leland announced his candidacy for State Representative of the 22nd district of the Ohio House of Representatives in the 2014 election. The 22nd Ohio House district (after redistricting that became effective with the 130th Assembly) includes much of the district (then OH 28) Leland served in the 115th Ohio General Assembly. He was seeking to replace Representative John Patrick Carney (D), who announced his intention to run in 2014 for Auditor of the State of Ohio on September 10, 2013. Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland served as Leland's honorary campaign chair.[6]

On November 4, 2014, Leland defeated Republican Andrew C. Hall with 16,315 votes to Hall's 10,128, or 62% of the vote.[7]

Private practice[edit]

Leland at a Columbus Clippers game in 2012

Until 1996, Leland was counsel to the Columbus law firm of Schwartz, Kelm, Warren and Rubenstein. Prior to that, Leland served as Transportation Director for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Leland also served as general counsel to the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA/AFSCME Local 11).[4]

In January 2007, Leland joined the law firm of Carpenter & Lipps, which was renamed in March 2008 to Carpenter Lipps & Leland.[8] Managing partner Mike Carpenter said that the move signified the firm's commitment to being a litigation and policy firm.[9]

Policy in Practice newsletter[edit]

In April 2008, the public policy practice Leland leads at his firm launched a political newsletter and website called "Policy in Practice" which featured news articles and analyses of city, state and national politics.

Personal life[edit]

Leland is active in the Columbus community and has received numerous community service awards and citations.

An avid baseball fan, Leland serves on the Board of Directors of the Columbus Clippers, the Cleveland Indians' AAA franchise. During his tenure the Clippers have constructed a state-of-the-art, $50 million baseball complex named Huntington Park.

Leland has lived in the Clintonville neighborhood of north Columbus since 1970.


  1. ^ a b c "The Arena: David Leland Bio". Politico.com. 2012-07-15. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  2. ^ "Columbus Board of Education Race - Nov 06, 1973". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  3. ^ a b Drew, Jim (2002-01-06). "Editorial: Leland knows it's about winning and losing". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  4. ^ a b "Bonnie Prouty Castrey appointed as chair of the Federal Service Impasses Panel; David Leland appointed as Member". The FLRA Bulletin, Vol. 9 No. 1. Federal Labor Relations Authority. January 31, 2000. 
  5. ^ "The Federal Services Impasses Panel". Federal Labor Relations Authority. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  6. ^ Siegel, Jim (September 12, 2013). "Former ODP chairman running for Ohio House". "Daily Briefing", The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  7. ^ http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_county/state_sen_house/OH_State_House.html
  8. ^ Carpenter Lipps & Leland LLP Attorney Profile for David Leland
  9. ^ "Arrival of State Dems' Boss Paves New Growth Path for Litigation Firm". Columbus Business First. April 4, 2008. 

External links[edit]