Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Reflections on 2006

It feels as though many of my friends and I have been working much of our adult lives to steer Ohio back on a better course - away from ever escalating college tuition and the wasting of federal job training dollars; away from ruthless GOP tax policies that takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the wealthiest among us; away from a corporate hollowing-out of Ohio's public schools; ultimately, away from the likes of Tom and Bernadette Noe and the politicians who gladly accepted money laundered from Ohio's injured workers.

It was from Toledo and Northwest Ohio that our cause was given great lift, from a clean take off to the almost perfect landing last Tuesday. For the roles they played, I'd like to express public thanks:

Kudos to the investigative journalism of The Blade, and to the media & journalists who followed. It should be recognized that both members of labor and management (thank you both) at The Blade worked together to break the national story of Tom and Bernadette Noe and the politicians they financed with dirty money. The story changed the political dynamics in Ohio very rapidly. It is a public service that will stand in history as one of our local newspapers' greatest contributions to truth and justice. (Respect also to Prosecutor Julia Bates and deputies Weglian, Lingo and the numerous others who expertly brought Mr. Noe to justice, as well as to Judge Tom Osowik for his judicial skills, decorum, timeliness, and his firm hand - finally, thanks to the jury who sat through the trial, weighed the evidence and dispensed justice.)

Kudos to Marcy Kaptur for her role in helping Democratic Congressional candidates pick up the seats necessary to reclaim the House of Representatives - and to those who helped Sherrod Brown travel from a House minority to a Senate majority.

Kudos to Tracy Sabetta in Columbus and public health advocates across our state and country who scored a historic public health victory with the success of Issue 5. The number of lives it will save and the money it will save in the years ahead for businesses and families is incalculable.

Kudos to the candidates and activists in Ottawa, Erie, Huron, Sandusky and Seneca counties - with whom I had the honor of working closely with the past several months as we contacted voters on the phone and on their front porch with our message of change. Ted Strickland & Lee Fisher, Sherrod Brown, Marc Dann, Richard Cordray, Jennifer Brunner and other state candidates carried these counties and towns there such as Fremont, Tiffin, Norwalk, Sandusky, and Port Clinton. It has been a long time since these red counties voted blue - and the credit belongs to the people there: Amy Grubbe in Erie who also swept county offices with aggressive, optimistic campaigns by Bill Monaghan and Tom Paul. Jodi Regal in Ottawa with great help from ODP Chair and State Rep. Chris Redfern's team led by a hellofa operative on the rise, Seth Bordner. Barb Marley from Fostoria, who was blessed to have scores of capable Democrats like Tiffin attorney Jim Fruth and Tiffin University VP Mike Grandillo. In Sandusky County, fresh from her appearance in Rolling Stone, Barb Tuckerman kept the Board of Elections humming as another stellar, national-level operative in Cathy Allen organized and worked day and night for Sherrod Brown, State House candidate Darrel Opfer and our ticket. To the men and women in Huron County, led by chair Richard Hauser and Strickland coordinator Jon Allton - your Election Day operation was outstanding - and certainly played a decisive role in a great leader in Matt Barrett knocking off an incumbent Ohio House Republican. And though it wasn't a county I was assigned, Al Baldwin and the countless activists and students in Wood were expert and energetic. There are too many people to thank, but everyone I came into contact with I enjoyed meeting and working with...

I applaud the contributions of the labor movement - the UAW, teachers, building trades, carpenters, SEIU and other unions within the AFL-CIO finally saw their past support for state Democrats bear fruit, while it was refreshing to see so many good Democrats at the state level earn Teamster support this year as well. Special thanks to Bob Lynn, Jr. from Local 50, David Blythe from AFSCME and Karen Krause from OPSEA for their leadership in raising the minimum wage, and to Don Burnard from Local 8 for manning the Strickland HQ in Toledo, and who worked with many well meaning Toledoans in getting things done. Now its on to reforming health care, strengthening workplace safety, and invigorating job creation.

Lloyd Mahaffey and the UAW stood up for all Ohio workers this year in leading the fight to protect workers compensation. Though bigtime loser Ken Blackwell successfully kept Issue 1 off the ballot - I know it backfired - as it only further motivated voters already disgusted by the fleecing of injured workers by Ohio Republicans. It was the right thing to do.

Back in Toledo, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, State Representative Edna Brown and State Senator Teresa Fedor served as the honorary chairs of Ted Strickland's efforts here, and each made some positive contributions - Carty can pull together friends in labor and find ways to motivate even the Republicans on his staff to attend our rallies. I know he'll be Toledo's loudest voice for help from the new governor.

The money raised from the Toledo area was impressive - I heard in excess of $600,000 - which not only went to Ted Strickland, but played a role in helping the down-ballot candidates succeed. Veteran Jerry Chabler, NW Ohio Strickland Finance Chairman, was joined by new County Treasurer Wade Kapzukiewicz in headlining this aspect of the campaign locally. On these fundraising lists you will find names from all wings of local Democratic Party who together supported our state candidates.

I'm proud of my brother's success. Matt finished very strong in wards and precincts across Toledo, Oregon and the townships that comprise House District 49. He and his team worked hard and smart - and he will be a very strong member of the General Assembly led by Rep. Joyce Beatty, who with her team picked up several seats in the Ohio House last week.

Looking forward to working with Joe McNamara to strengthen city council and the City of Toledo, and with Ben Konop over at the county. Neither candidate launched their campaign with the endorsement of the local party, thanks to rules and bias for which the local Democratic party bosses are responsible for. Yet they were successful nonetheless. As a result, we can put all that A team / B team stuff behind us, continue to encourage good candidates to come forward and win, and work for the good of our community.

Finally, I appreciate the chance to work with great organizers around Ohio, to have played a modest role in making good things happen. There are so many of my colleagues to name and thank - Chris Redfern, Sarah Topy, Michelle Domke and Emily Brown with ODP, Sarah Buxton with the Kaptur campaign, Jesse Gannon with Sherrod Brown, becky Pearcy with Strickland, Jim Ruvolo for the counsel of someone who's been there, Megan Vahey with SEIU, Robert Dempsey with the Senate Caucus, and my council colleague Michael Ashford for bringing statewide candidates through some of Toledo's greatest neighborhoods and churches, and to many, many others: I am inspired by your labor and will forever be grateful for your successful efforts to take back Ohio.

9 Comments:

Blogger RJ said...

Frank,

I'm interestd to hear you opinion on how one-party rule, blamed for so much of the corruption in Columbus, won't have the same effect in Toledo. Aren't we on the same slippery slope here with the complete dominance of the Democratic party in the City and County?

7:52 PM  
Blogger RJ said...

Are you taking questions this month Frank?

11:10 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

sorry for the lag time RJ -

For the first time Ohio history the Republicans hold every seat on the Ohio Supreme Court. The GOP holds a lock on the State Senate and a decent grip on the Ohio House. A Republican also was elected to replace another Republican as State Auditor - who will be charged with identifying & rooting out waster fraud and abuse across the land.

Dems had a great night, but I'd say it's a long way from one-party rule in Columbus.

In Toledo & Lucas County, that's another matter. I'd lay blame on the weakness of the local GOP thanks to the corruption of Tom & Bernadette Noe.

Shoot, I wish the Republicans on Council would take up the banner of "loyal opposition" - they are closer to the chairman of the local democratic party than I am!

4:06 PM  
Blogger RJ said...

Toledo and Lucas county have been overwhemingly Democrat long before the Noe scandle. The Noes simply made it easier for Dems to get an even tighter grip on the area.

My concern is the near-monopoly the Dems enjoy here. Many D's were very outspoken about the pitfalls of a lopsided party rule at the state level claiming that corruption often follows in a body without sufficient party balance. How can you and your party in Toledo avoid the arrogance and corruption that you warned us about at the state level?

4:48 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

aggressive investigative journalism.

in a way, we Dems haven't avoided corruption locally either..there are plenty of examples - which is why people need to stand up for ideas, participate, debate, and not be afraid to make waves and upset people.

ultimately, the voters of this area are responsible for the politicians they elect.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RJ:
The arrogance and corrpution in the local Democratic Party is here...and former City Councilman Bob McCloskey is its poster boy.
MCloskey is proof that a Dem can be as dirty as Noe.

10:29 PM  
Blogger RJ said...

"Aggressive Investigative Journalism"?

Are you suggesting that relying on the Blade is our best line of defense against the proliferation of corrupt Democrats in Toledo? A corrupt Dem would have to be politically dead in the water-ahemMcCloskey-before he got fished out by the paper.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Aggressive Investigative Journalism"?

I wonder why the Blade has not exposed Carty and the good ol'boys. They gave him a free pass time and time again. If the Blade was as aggressive with Carty and the good ol' boys as it was with Noe...Toledo would be a better place because they'd be run out of power.

9:13 PM  
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1:37 AM  

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