“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
— Harriet Beecher Stowe
Turning The Tide: Our Vision
Tuesday’s election of new leadership at the Ohio Democratic Party marks a defining moment in the history of the ODP, and sets in motion the path for our future. We are humbled by and deeply grateful for the strong support we received in our quest to lead the party and we know how much work needs to be done to restore confidence, energize our infrastructure and win elections.
Individually and as a team, we’ve both had the honor of being elected to office and serving our communities, and are proud of results we’ve delivered in our years of service. And as candidates, we’ve been to every corner of this great state — from union halls in Parma and Rossford, churches in Dayton and Columbus, coffee shops in Akron, and VFW halls in Marietta — to the brick streets of Athens, picnic shelters in Hillsboro and Sandusky, the homes of supporters in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo — and so many other incredible places in between.
We’ve had the opportunity to learn, to listen, and to grow, as officeholders, candidates, Democrats and as Ohioans, and these experiences serve as our inspiration and motivation to lift our Party to the next level.
Leading the Ohio Democratic Party, our number one responsibility and goal will be to win elections.
We must win local races in 2015. When the whole nation is counting on us and so much is at stake in the judiciary, there is no other option than to win big in 2016. We must use the momentum and energy from our successes in ’15 and ’16 to win in 2017 and 2018. Indeed, the true measure of our success will be in 2018.
Our plan is to harness our own experience, and the collective experience and passion of all who want to be involved, to change, shape, and hone the ODP into a well-oiled machine that wins elections every year.
But to be very clear: winning is not enough. How we lead as Democrats and what we do after we win are just as important. Indeed, winning and then doing good reinforce one another.
So as we win, we must focus on solving real problems in the lives of real people. Together, we must deliver results on the issues that matter most to the communities and people we serve – not just score points against the other side.
Beginning January 1, we will systematically gather input from across the state about your and others’ views, ideas and suggestions. We will use all of this input, as well as best practices from around the country, to develop a Blueprint to Victory by early next spring. Below are the five basic principles that we believe should serve as the foundation of the Blueprint, but be assured that many of the details and specific steps to execute these principles will be driven by your feedback.
- FIGHTING FOR THINGS THAT MATTER: If we want Ohioans to show up on Election Day and vote for our candidates, they must know what we stand and fight for–and that what we fight for will make their lives better.
- ENERGIZING OUR INFRASTRUCTURE: The Party needs to touch voters where they are, and do so with passion — not just in the weeks prior to an election, but on an ongoing basis. This means firing up and empowering the entire Democratic infrastructure so it’s not simply a long list of names in a database, but an ACTIVE, WORKING infrastructure, fueled by passion and energy at every level of the Party.
- BUILDING OUR FUTURE: We must always operate with our eye towards the future, both when it comes to recruiting and cultivating our bench of future candidates, and standing strongly against GOP tactics that most threaten our success long-term, such as gerrymandering and voter suppression.
- RAISING RESOURCES. The Party needs the resources to fuel all these efforts, and these resources must come from the bottom-up as much as the top-down.
- ORGANIZATIONAL INTEGRITY. The Party must be a robust organization that lives by our values and is infused by energy, common purpose, high-integrity decision making, open communication, and transparency.
And absolutely essential in all this is the need to come together and work together going forward.
We are coming off a pretty rough cycle, but as Nina often says, there is promise in the problem.
So as long as there are people living in poverty and sickness while others get rich from tax breaks and loopholes, it’s our responsibility as Democrats to lift them up.
As long as there are voices drowned out by the self-interests and greed of those in power, it’s our responsibility as Democrats to make them heard.
As long as our children—from the foothills of Appalachia to the shores of Lake Erie —have their dreams deferred, it’s our responsibility as Democrats to tear down the barriers that hold them back.
And as long as our democracy has not yet fulfilled its potential—as long as the promise of a more perfect union remains alive—it’s our responsibility as Democrats to dare to dream of progress and to blaze the trail towards it.
We thank you for your strong support and look forward to blazing this trail together beginning January 1.
David Pepper, ODP Chair-Elect
Nina Turner, Leadership Team Chair