On April 21st, the Southern Ohio Progressive Movement hosted Mickey Edwards of Cincinnati, candidate for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District. Edwards hopes to best a growing field of rivals in the Democratic Party primary and and take on Republican incumbent Brad Wenstrup in November 2018.
Mickey Edwards of Cincinnati, candidate for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District, spoke at the April meeting of the Southern Ohio Progressive Movement. Photo Credit: SOPM Media.
Edwards criticized Wenstrup for refusing to hold public, face-to-face town hall meetings and promised that if he was elected to represent the people of southern Ohio he would be happy to meet with his constituents to hear their complaints.
When pressed by a member of the audience on how he planned to defeat Wenstrup, when voters in the district had voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016, Edwards pointed to the special election in Georgia, where Democrats showed impressive gains, and noted that William Smith of Pike County, the last Democratic “candidate" for Ohio’s 2nd District, secured over 30-percent of the vote without running any campaign operation. Edwards, a self-confessed optimist, said there was good reason to believe the race can be won.
In local races, three candidates for Portsmouth City Council addressed the meeting. Sean Dunne spoke of his various initiatives in the city, recalling his unsuccessful attempt to build a skate park and his role in securing a $25,000 grant to aid in the preservation of Spartan Municipal Stadium. Dunne, who identifies as an Independent is up against Kevin W. Johnson, the First Ward incumbent, who has a progressive record dating back to his early support of the Obama campaign in 2008. Johnson spoke at the March meeting of the SOPM and attended the organization’s founding meeting in January.
David Duncan and Kevin E. Johnson (the other Kevin Johnson on Portsmouth City Council) are part of a four way race in the city's Third Ward. Johnson noted that all city council races are officially non-partisan, but that he had recently ruffled feathers in the Republican party when he endorsed a Democratic candidate for Scioto County Commission. Johnson, a Trump-supporter, emphasized his independence, while Duncan proudly identified himself as a progressive and credited the Southern Ohio Progressive Movement with helping convince him to run for election.
The May 2nd city council primary will narrow the field and we are hopeful that local progressive candidates will advance. As for candidates running in Ohio’s 2nd District, Mickey Edwards may be the first one out of the gate in Portsmouth, but it is simply too early to identify a front runner in the Democratic field. Dr. Janet Everhard is next up on the SOPM meetings schedule. On May 19th she will introduce herself and speak about her plans for defeating Congressman Wenstrup and fighting the agenda of the Trump administration. And then, on June 16th, Richard Crosby, will speak at the 14th Street Community Center, when the SOPM holds its regular monthly meeting.
Another highlight of the meeting was an impromptu round of applause for Mich Nyawalo, an Associate Professor of World Literature and the Director of the Honors Program at Shawnee State University. Dr. Nyawalo was recognized for having recently obtained his US citizenship. A native of Kenya, he first came to the United States for graduate studies and ultimately decided upon a career and life in the United States. Now a resident of Portsmouth, Dr. Nyawalo has enriched the experience of his students and emerged as leading progressive voice on and off campus. Fully committed to the ideal of engaged citizenship, Dr. Nyawalo serves as the co-chair of the SOPM Community Care and Engagement Committee.
The Southern Ohio Progressive Movement holds its next meeting on May 19th, at 6:30pm, at the IBEW Hall on Offnere Street, in Portsmouth. In addition to hosting Congressional candidate Dr. Janet Everhard, Chase Brown from Innovation Ohio, a state-wide progressive organization, will give an up-date on the state budget bill, which is currently being drafted in Columbus. With state tax revenue coming in millions of dollars below projections and state finances in a mess, Gov. John Kasich is nevertheless moving ahead with his proposed tax cuts, which will be offset through further cuts to other state programs. Republican mismanagement of government at the local, state, and federal levels continues and as their failures can no longer be blamed on President Obama, the people of Ohio are awakening to the need for real change and they are organizing now for victory in local races and in anticipation of taking back control of Congress in 2018.