Connie Schultz, Sherrod Brown’s Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Connie Schultz and Sherrod Brown.

Connie Schultz/Twitter

Connie Schultz is the second wife of Senator Sherrod Brown. He has been representing Ohio as a Democrat in the Senate since 2006 and previously served in the House of Representatives. Brown may have the more recognizable name, but his wife has had just as successful of a career as the senator.

Schultz is an award-winning journalist. Her accolades include a Pulitzer Prize earned while working at the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. She is now a professor, columnist and published author.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Connie Schultz Grew Up Northeast of Cleveland & Was the First Member of Her Family to Attend College

Connie Schultz was born and raised in the city of Ashtabula. It is a working-class city located northeast of Cleveland on Lake Erie. (President Donald Trump won Ashtabula County with 57 percent of the vote in 2016).

According to her bio on the Pulitzer Prize Board, Schultz was the first member of her family to attend college. She studied journalism and political science at Kent State University, and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1979. While there, she served as editor of the independent student newspaper, the Daily Kent Stater.

Schultz worked as a freelance reporter for more 15 years after graduating from Kent State. Her professor bio for the university states that her work appeared in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, as well as Cosmopolitan.

2. Connie Schultz Has Won Multiple Awards For Her Writing, Including a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2005

Schultz joined the staff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1993 as a reporter and columnist. According to her LinkedIn page, she focused exclusively on writing as a columnist after 2002.

Schultz was named as a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize twice, and won the award in 2005. The Pulitzer Prize Board described her columns as a “voice for the underdog and underprivileged.”

One of her highlighted articles, written in November 2004, was about the passage of a law in Ohio that banned same-sex marriage as civil unions. Schultz wrote about a church service in which the pastor asked people who had been impacted by the law’s passage to stand up. The pastor told the gay members of the congregation that the church supported and loved them, regardless of what the law said. Schultz described how her mother influenced her own vote on this issue: “We keep hearing that Issue 1 supporters voted on ‘moral values.’ Well, I took my values to the polls, too, and they are grounded in my own Christian upbringing. My mother’s only bumper sticker read, ‘My Boss Is a Jewish Carpenter.’ She told anyone who’d listen that she was born again, and her rule for us was simple: ‘Love anyone God loves,’ she’d say. ‘That’d be everyone, no exceptions.'” You can read all of Schultz’s works that were recognized by the Pulitzer Prize Board here.

Schultz was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for her series called “The Burden of Innocence.” She wrote about a man named Michael Green who was sent to prison in 1988 for rape. He served 13 years behind bars before DNA evidence revealed that he was innocent. One week after Schultz’s series on Green was published, the real rapist turned himself in to police and was ultimately sentenced to five years in prison. According to the Plain Dealer editorial board, the real rapist had read Schultz’s articles.

The Michael Green series earned Schultz multiple awards including the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Social Justice Reporting and the National Headliner Award’s Best of Show. Harvard and Columbia universities also granted her journalism awards for the series. Schultz’s additional accolades include membership in the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame, the Batten Model and a National Headliner Award.

3. Schultz Left the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2011 But Has Continued Writing Columns & Is a Published Author

Connie Schultz decided to leave the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2011, after 18 years with the newspaper. She wrote in an email to her colleagues that the time was right because she felt her “independence, professionally and personally, is possible only if I’m no longer writing for the newspaper that covers my husband’s senate race on a daily basis.” Schultz had also taken time off during Sherrod Brown’s first senate race in 2006.

Schultz has continued writing columns since leaving the newspaper. She began writing for the Creators Syndicate in 2007 and continues that work today. From 2010 to 2014, Schultz also wrote essays for Parade Magazine.

One of her recent columns focused on millennial voters. The commentary began by pointing out a sticker that Schultz keeps on her office door that reads, “Old people are ruining your life. VOTE.” She encourages people like her college students to vote and laments when young people live up to the stereotype that they are disengaged from politics. She wrote, “How to say this gently. Politicians are appealing to older voters like me because they know you aren’t willing to ‘do stuff’ to hold them accountable. Stuff like voting.”

In addition to her work as a journalist and commentator, Schultz also found time to write two books and is working on a third. In 2007, her book “…And His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man” was published by Penguin Random House. The book chronicled her experience as Sherrod Brown ran for the Senate in 2006. In its review of the book, Publisher’s Weekly described Schultz as a “valuable tool to her husband’s success, from forcing his handlers to give the exhausted candidate time to recoup to trotting out her working-class family’s hard-luck story when convenient.”

Schultz’s first book, “Life Happens — and Other Unavoidable Truths” was published in 2006. According to her LinkedIn page, Schultz has been working on a third book, but this time it won’t be a commentary. Instead, she is trying her hand at writing fiction.

4. Schultz Teaches Journalism at Kent State University

connie schultz

Connie Schultz.

Connie Schultz returned to her alma mater of Kent State University in 2016 to teach future journalists. In a news release at the time, Schultz described her excitement at getting the chance to be a part of campus life again. “Kent State launched me, as a journalist and as a citizen of the world…This is a rare opportunity to be part of the school community I cherish while still working in this profession I love.”

The dean of the College of Communication, Amy Reynolds, wrote in the announcement that she had always been inspired by Schultz’s reporting. She also wrote that current students would benefit from Schultz by learning about how she uses social media to engage readers. “Connie is a role model for anyone who wants to build civil discourse and community using social media… Connie’s knowledge of social media and how to effectively use it to inform and engage citizens is something I know she will share with our student media organizations and in her classes.” Schultz has more than 48,000 followers on Twitter and 182,000 fans on Facebook.

And Schultz takes advantage of that knowledge to share wisdom in the social media sphere. For example, she inspired some humorous responses in August 2018 when she pointed out that a reporter was not “undercover” if she shared pictures of herself on social media. Here’s what happened: Kaitlin Bennett is the Kent State graduate who made national headlines when she posed with an AR-15 for her graduation photos and tried to plan an open-carry rally on the campus.

Bennett posted on Twitter in August, “I’m undercover at Kent State University today asking students what they think about Kaitlin Bennett, the Kent State gun girl!” Schultz pointed out, “As a journalism professor at Kent State, I feel the need to explain that your posting these photos of yourself means you’re not undercover. #heretohelp.” Bennett wasn’t thrilled about this, and responded that she had posted the picture “after” going undercover. Most of the comments that followed supported Schultz, with one person calling Schultz “her hero” and another posting a meme of “Captain Obvious” dropping a mic.

5. Connie Schultz & Sherrod Brown Tied the Knot in 2004 & Each Had Two Children From Their First Marriages

Connie Schultz wrote about her relationship with Sherrod Brown in a column for Parade Magazine in August 2013. She said their first date was on New Year’s Day in 2003. He had reached out to her via email after reading her columns.

They were engaged by Thanksgiving and got married April 10, 2004. She wrote in part, “I was 45 at the time. Sherrod had just turned 50. Two years later, strangers and gossip columnists would praise him for picking an “age appropriate” bride. Don’t get me started.”

Schultz was married once before, She shared that her first husband was actually her law professor. (She dropped out of law school and married him while in her early 20s). They had two children, a son and a daughter who are both now grown. Sherrod Brown also has two adult daughters from his first marriage. They now also have two grandchildren.

In September 2018, Senator Brown was accused of past misconduct. His opponent for the Senate, Republican Jim Renacci, claimed that “several women” had approached his campaign and said Senator Brown had assaulted them in the past. Renacci supporters also claimed that Brown had abused his first wife, Larke Recchie.

Recchie has denied those claims. In a statement, she said, “This isn’t the first time someone has gone after my family to score cheap political points. I’m dismayed that Congressman Renacci would do something this shameless, despite the fact that I’ve already addressed this matter.”

Schultz responded to the allegations by calling Jim Renacci “desperate.” She wrote on Twitter, “Going after our family, which includes Larke & Joe, is a despicable act by a desperate candidate. Thank you for the flood of kindness via social media, calls, emails & texts. Thanks, too, for supporting Sherrod & caring so much about our kids & grandchildren. You keep us strong.”

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