CLEVELAND - The current senior U.S. Senator from Ohio turns 60 in November, and is focused on winning a second term, so that his distinctive voice can speak for Ohioans for six more years.
Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, isn't sure why he sounds the way he does. Many people assume his raspy tone is the result of cigarettes, but Brown said he has never smoked.
Brown said doctors often think they can figure out why he sounds hoarse, but he has never been given a clear explanation.
"I go to the doctor once in a while and they gag me, do what you do to look at a throat, and it's really pleasant. It's better than a colonoscopy, but only by a little bit," Brown joked.
Brown is also a former Eagle Scout from Mansfield. He said his dedication to service comes from his father, a small town doctor, and his mother, a teacher and activist.
"She was the head of the state YMCA's and cared so much about injustice, empowering women, racial injustice, and really kind of brought me along in the 1960's as a high school kid to really look at the world in terms of service," Brown said.
Brown, who also served as a United States Congressman for the 13th District, mentioned jobs as a top priority during a recent speech at an NAACP meeting in Cleveland.
"We're still too far behind. Obviously, unemployment, far too many low income people (are) without much opportunity in this country," Brown told the crowd.
Brown said he wakes up each day trying to figure out ways to put people back to work and create good-paying jobs.
"In a phrase, it's how do we give people a chance to join the middle class. It's always about education and training, and we can do all those things," Brown said.
Brown is married to former Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz. They each have two children from previous marriages.
Outside of work, he enjoys reading and taking his daughters to Indians games.
Brown is described on his website as "a fierce advocate for our nation's middle class families."
The site also indicates that Brown "helped pass historic health care law."