REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Not too many left like Fred Deering

Fred Deering had one speed, one direction: Full ahead. And he maintained that almost to the end. Because when Fred Deering believed something needed to happen, he did his best to make you believe, too. Didn't matter if you were a constituent -- or the governor.
Commentary
Mar 23, 2010

 

Fred Deering had one speed, one direction: Full ahead.

And he maintained that almost to the end.

Because when Fred Deering believed something needed to happen, he did his best to make you believe, too. Didn't matter if you were a constituent -- or the governor.

He'd tell you, not what he thought you wanted to hear, but what he thought you needed to hear -- and he'd either convince you or wear you down. And he'd tell you to your face.

You could tell him things to his face, too, and he gave you plenty of opportunity; Deering was never one for camping out in Columbus while maintaining an address for show in the district he represented. Ransom Road in Oxford Townshio was where the phone book said he lived, and Ransom Road was where you could reach him.

His direct approach earned him friends and enemies -- and a reputation as a guy who got things done, as a Perkins school board member, as an Erie County commissioner, as a state representative, as an Erie MetroParks commissioner.

The things he got done ranged from the constituent service that is part of the working day for any legislator, to funding by any means necessary, including gas taxes, the road projects that earned him the nickname "Freeway Fred" during his time in Columbus.

But for all his connections in Columbus and around the state, his connections "from here" mattered just as much -- and in that, Deering was the kind of politician that has become all too rare.