Friday, January 16, 2015

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper announces party initiative to fund and help Democrats at local level get elected or reelected in 2015 as the 2016 presidential election nears and Cleveland will host the Republican National Convention, Pepper, Nina Turner comment

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper and ODP Chair of Political Engagement Nina Turner, a Cleveland Democrat and former state senator.

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog, Tel: (216) 659-0473 Kathy Wray Coleman is  a community activist, educator, and 21-year investigative journalist who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio.  ( / (

COLUMBUS, Ohio- Yesterday, at a meeting with county party chairs from across the state, new Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper announced the strategy by his party to make early investments in local races throughout Ohio in 2015.

The decision by the state Democratic party to invest in elections for city councils and other local offices open for grabs across the state to hopefully get Democrats elected or reelected that can bring in Democratic votes from their constituents comes as the 2016 presidential election nears and Ohio remains a pivotal state, not to mention that Cleveland will host the Republican National Convention next year.

The initiative is also being pushed by the Democratic candidates that lost statewide elections in November, including Pepper himself, many of the Democrats  at issue seeking to unseat incumbents.

"The Main Street Initiative will be laser focused on providing direct support to local candidates and staff, including financial investments to targeted races, messaging, voter contact, and fundraising training," Pepper said in a press release to Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news.

To jump start the important investment in this strategy, Pepper, former state Sen and ODP Chair of Political Engagement Nina Turner, former statewide candidate and State Rep John Patrick Carney, Cincinnati City Councilman PG Sittenfeld, former statewide treasurer candidate and State Rep Connie Pillich and others have already committed funds from their campaign committees to the Party’s new Main Street Victory Fund.

“Everything in politics starts at the local level, including good candidates, good ideas, and critical services,” said Pepper, who ran unsuccessfully for Ohio attorney general in November. “This strategy and fund represent our commitment to build this party from the local level, where it all begins."

A Cleveland Democrat and former Cleveland Ward 1 councilwoman before she became a state senator, and who did not seek reelection and subsequently lost a race last year for secretary of state against incumbent Republican Jon Husted, Turner is equally excited about the initiative.

“As Democrats, it’s our responsibility to care about the welfare of all Ohioans, and our Main Street Initiative is an opportunity to put our values into action,” Turner said.  “It’s great to have Democrats in the U.S. Senate and the White House, but if we don’t support and cultivate our leaders at the local level, those of us living on Main Street from Cuyahoga County to Butler County are in real trouble.”

The elections for the 17-member Cleveland City Council and mayor, however, are in 2017.

The Republicans won a sweep of statewide offices last year, including popular incumbent Gov John Kasich, and the offices of state auditor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer,  and two Ohio Supreme Court seats held by sitting Justices Sharon Kennedy and Judi French.

Former Ohio Democratic Party Chairperson Chris Redfern announced election night last November that he was quitting and executive committee members of the state Democratic party selected Pepper last month to succeed him.

“Having a strong bench of local elected officials is key to ensuring Democratic values are enacted in communities all over our state,” said John Patrick Carney, who also said that he is committed to supporting Pepper's initiative.

 “I’m excited to be a part of this important investment in those communities," said Carney, who lost a race for state auditor last year to incumbent David Yost.  ( / (