Betty Montgomery's entire career has focused on public service. As a former county prosecutor and Ohio Attorney General, she has prosecuted criminals, advocated on behalf of victims, protected taxpayers, reshaped Ohio law, and continues to provide professional services to local government agencies as Ohio's 30th Auditor of State. Montgomery is dedicated to meeting her commitments to the people of Ohio - to serve as a watchdog of public funds by aggressively rooting out fraud and waste of public dollars and to provide taxpayers with the highest level of professionalism, service, and accountability.
Ohio voters have rewarded Montgomery's dedication to public service by making her the state's top vote-getter in both 1998 and 2002. Never one to turn away from a challenge, she has broken barriers by becoming the state's first elected woman county prosecutor, first woman Attorney General, and first woman Auditor of State. Her effective leadership through innovation and creative problem-solving is demonstrated most recently by maintaining high levels of office productivity with an increased focus on fraud detection despite a 10 percent reduction in staff and nearly $10 million in budget cuts.
As a state senator, Montgomery earned the Watchdog of the Treasury award. As Attorney General, she put that same fiscal conservatism to work. By streamlining frivolous inmate lawsuits and removing unnecessary layers of appeals, she saved taxpayer dollars at every turn. In 2000, Montgomery's office received national recognition as America's most outstanding consumer protection agency. Betty Montgomery is the only Attorney General in Ohio history to collect over a billion dollars owed to the state. In her first 18 months as Auditor of State, Montgomery's office identified more than $180 million in misspent or stolen tax dollars, leading to nearly 30 convictions of those who would abuse the public trust.
Montgomery has consistently fought for the values of her constituents. As Attorney General, she successfully defended the Cleveland school voucher program before the United States Supreme Court. She boldly fought the ACLU's assault on Ohio's state motto "With God All Things Are Possible." Thousands of Ohioans wrote her to say "thanks" for preserving this simple yet eloquent statement of faith. Montgomery also helped write and successfully defend Ohio's partial birth abortion ban. As Auditor of State, she supported a constitutional amendment stating that marriage should be between one man and one woman, a bedrock principle of our society.
Prior to serving as Auditor of State, Montgomery spent eight years as Ohio's first woman Attorney General from 1995 through 2002. Montgomery fulfilled commitments to provide increased state support for local law enforcement and to upgrade the state's crime labs, joining only four percent of the nation's law enforcement agencies by earning accreditation for both the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. Among other top priorities, Montgomery emphasized the protection of Ohio's most vulnerable citizens - senior citizens, youth, and crime victims. She received national recognition for work in many areas including legal work before the U.S. Supreme Court, criminal justice, consumer protection, and her office's pro bono efforts.
Montgomery served as State Senator for the 2nd Senate District (northwest Ohio) from 1989 through 1994, where she served as chair of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and vice chair of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission. Her hard work in the Senate included drafting Ohio's first living will law, the state's first brownfields legislation, and its Victim's Rights Law. Much of her work in the Senate centered on crime and law enforcement, as well as efforts to help protect consumers, children, and the elderly.
In 1981, Montgomery became Ohio's only elected woman county prosecutor that year, a position she held until being elected to the State Senate in 1988. During her eight years as county prosecutor, Montgomery increased her office's felony conviction rate by 250 percent.
A native of northwest Ohio, Montgomery is a graduate of Bowling Green State University (1970) and the University of Toledo College of Law (1976). She began her career in public service as a criminal clerk for the Lucas County Common Pleas Court, then an assistant Wood County prosecuting attorney (1977-78), and Perrysburg City Prosecutor (1978-81).