Lieutenant governor steps down as Ohio insurance director

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ohio’s lieutenant governor stepped down Friday as the state’s insurance director.

Republican Gov. John Kasich said in a statement that Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor was leaving her job as director of the Ohio Department of Insurance effective Friday. The governor named the department’s deputy director, Jillian Froment, to serve as the new director.

Taylor is continuing as Kasich’s lieutenant and is one of four high-profile Ohioans aspiring to governor. The others are Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci.

Taylor announced the creation of the Mary Taylor for Governor committee in February, clearing her to begin campaigning, raising money and seeking endorsements. She has said she plans to make her official campaign announcement in the next couple of months.

Taylor told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday that she has enjoyed her time as insurance director, a position she has held since becoming lieutenant governor in January 2011.

“It’s just the right time for me to step down and start focusing more on the future of the state of Ohio and the people I represent as lieutenant governor,” she said.

Taylor, a former state auditor and state representative from the Akron suburb of Green, also said the decision to step down was made partly to allow more time for campaigning for governor.

Kasich said Friday that Taylor has provided “steady, knowledgeable leadership” as insurance director.

Froment has served as deputy director since 2011 and has “a deep knowledge” of the insurance industry and the department, the governor said.