Merle Grace Kearns, a former Clark County commissioner and a 15-year state legislator, passed away over the weekend at the age of 76. The veteran Republican lawmaker had gained respect from both sides of the political aisle during her career.
Kearns spent time as the director of the Ohio Department of Aging and was a member of the Ohio House, representing the 72nd district and served as Majority Leader in the 126th General Assembly.
Prior to serving in the Ohio House, Kearns was a member of the Ohio Senate from 1991 to 2000, representing the 10th Senate District.
She served voters in Clark, Madison and Greene counties as a legislator, and was known to champion causes for those who were less fortunate.
Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican from Celina, released a statement calling Kearns, "an extraordinary public servant, who represented the most vulnerable in our society."
Greene County GOP officials also issued a statement saying that: “Merle Grace's influence in the General Assembly touched lives across Ohio, especially those with mental health or developmental disabilities."