Path to Power
Brown was born on Nov. 9, 1952, in Mansfield, Ohio, the youngest of three sons of a Republican physician father and a politically-active mother. He took to politics as a teenager. For the first Earth Day, Brown and some friends organized a march in their town. "We did this really cool march and we had a really big crowd," Brown recalls. "But we get down to the square and none of us had thought about what you do when you get down there. We didn't have any speakers, and it was like, 'Oh, [expletive].' So we just disbanded."
The Eagle Scout graduated from Yale in 1974 with a degree in Russian studies and was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives later that year after knocking on 20,000 doors. At the time, he was the youngest state legislator in Ohio's history. Brown went on to earn masters' degrees from Ohio State University in education and public administration. In 1982, at age 29, Brown won the first of his two terms as Ohio's secretary of state, where he focused on voter registration efforts, including getting McDonald's to print voter registration forms on its tray liners. He lost his bid for a third term in 1990 to future Gov. Bob Taft (R).
Brown voted with the majority of Democrats 96.4 percent of the time in the 110th Congress.
Brown voted for President Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus package in February 2009, calling it "a significant jumpstart that our economy needs." It passed the Senate 60 to 38.
Brown stayed neutral throughout the 2008 presidential primaries and endorsed Barack Obama in June 2008. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) had won Ohio's Democratic primary.
His Senate campaign manager in 2006 was John Ryan, the executive secretary of the Cleveland AFL-CIO and a recognized labor leader in Ohio.