Scioto County Democrats held their first meeting of 2018 at the New Boston Community Center and party chairman Randy Basham presided over a meeting that signaled the start of a new chapter in local political history.
Portsmouth Municipal Judge Steve Mowery’s remarks helped set the tone for the evening, noting how our courts and law enforcement (the Department of Justice and FBI, in particular) have come under attack, how the free press is being challenged, how our nation’s democratic institutions — the constitution itself — are threatened by Donald Trump and his supporters. The lessons of history, Mowery argued, taught that principles should be placed before party and that common ground can and must be found.
Trampas Puckett of Carpenter Local Union No. 437 is running for Scioto County Commissioner under the banner of the Democratic Party. Whether any other candidates will enter the race is unknown, but it is now clear that the incumbent Bryan Davis will face a real challenger, someone who understands the local economy and will represent the true interests of working families in our community.
Adrienne Buckler and Joni Fearing will seek the 90th District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. With Terry Johnson, the current representative term-limited out, this looks to be the “Year of the Woman” Considering that Gina Collinsworth is the current front runner on the Republican side, it looks like the next Representative from the 90th will be a woman.
Dr. Janet Everhard was in attendance to speak about her campaign for Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District. The Good Doctor will face two serious primary contenders in Richard Crosby and Jill Schiller. So far Everhard has worked the hardest of the three candidates to introduce herself to voters and activists in Portsmouth and the eastern most communities of the district. She's already booked over 20,000 miles on the campaign trail, attending community events and organizing meetings, making her the hardest working and one of the most connected Democrats in southern Ohio. Whether it is Everhard, Crosby, or Schiller who make it through the primary, the Republican (Tea Party) incumbent Brad Wenstrup is going to face a real fight to keep his seat in Washington, D.C.
In the judicial field, Jerry Buckler will seek re-election to the Scioto County Domestic Relations Court. So far, he is running un-opposed, but from his remarks, it is clear the Judge is ready to meet any challenger.
For the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals, where two seats are open, Judge Marie Hoover will campaign for re-election to her seat and Valarie Gerlach will run for the seat currently held by Judge William H. Harsha, who has been term-limited by Ohio law due to his age (70 and above).
It was also announced that the Federated Democratic Women of Scioto County is joining forces with the Southern Ohio Progressive Movement to sponsor a series of candidate forums in the lead up to the May primary and the general election in November. The collaboration between the Democratic Women and the Progressive Movement is a sign that the political opposition is uniting against Republicans at the local, state, and federal levels.
Another sign of local coalition building came with the appointment of Andrew Feight to a vacant seat on the Scioto County Democratic Party’s Central Committee. Feight has previously served on the Shawnee Labor Council, representing the faculty at Shawnee State University, and is a founding member of the Southern Ohio Progressive Movement. Feight will now represent and organize Democrats in Nile Township, Precinct B, which is located in the southwestern corner of the county.
The Phoenix reborn in flames by Friedrich Johann Justin Bertuch. Public Domain. Via Wikipedia.
A year ago, in the wake of Trump’s surprise victory, the grassroots began organizing an opposition movement. New faces showed up at local Democratic party meetings. Some were met with resistance and skepticism. The divisions caused by the 2016 presidential contest, which pitted establishment Clinton supporters against insurgent Sanders supporters showed themselves. Some asked, were the new faces real Democrats? Why form a separate "progressive" organization?
For others, the progressives were not “new faces,” as they had already come to know their fellow citizens from other community events and through other civic organizations. Common ground was recognized and common principles acknowledged. Old alliances were renewed. Coalition building takes time and one year into the Trump administration, a new reality is coming into focus. New coalitions — at the grassroots — are now coming together and this bodes well for Democratic candidates in this year’s midterm elections.
With Ryan Ottney, a leading progressive voice, now serving on the New Boston Village Council, and with strong candidates running for local and state office who share progressive values, the Democrats of Scioto County are rising like a phoenix. There is reason to hope a “blue wave” will wash over Congress and it will pass right through southern Ohio.