Serving as Ohio’s first woman Assistant Secretary of State, it was an honor and privilege to be part of the leadership team that administered a successful statewide presidential election in 2008. It is with this same sense of purpose and intent that defines my candidacy for Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party.
I have an established record of winning elections, over the last 25 years, at the local, state and national level. My extensive experience in fundraising has enabled me to assist candidates in raising millions of dollars for their campaigns. Most importantly, as a wife, mother, and small business owner, I have a realistic understanding of the daily challenges experienced by many Ohioans. I truly believe that my vast of experience has prepared me to lead the party.
We have many challenges to face in rebuilding our party, and there are no easy answers. We are at a critical turning point to restore hope to our party faithful. We must face these challenges together. As such, I am committed to serving a minimum of four years as a full-time Chair residing in Franklin County. With the election quickly approaching on December 16th, I wish to put forth an outline of my plan as well as my work history and win record.
Vision for Hope
The foundation for rebuilding our party begins with a plan that is focused on the diverse communities that have served as the pillars for the Democratic Party, including not limited to, Labor, African-Americans, Women, Latinos, Young Professionals/Millennials and County Party Organizations. The following are my initial recommendations for consideration during the December transition:
INFRASTRUCTURE: We will review and assess all state party infrastructure and operations. In these lean times, it is critical that we have an operational budget that can be supported. Staff assessment and responsibilities, with transparency and accountability, will be maximized to successfully elect democrats.
SHORT-TERM / LONG-TERM PLANNING: I will lead discussions, with our party leadership at the local, state and federal levels, to create a multi-year plan that incorporates an 88 county strategy. There will be both a urban and rural agenda that will be integrated with our local, state and federal elections. This will allow us to assess both accomplishments and failures. At the end of each campaign cycle, we will work to acknowledge roadblocks and develop strategies that allow us to develop new opportunities for success. To execute this, I propose the creation of an “ODP Cabinet.” These individuals, would serve as advisors in a volunteer capacity, and would be augmented into the existing vice-chair structure. These individuals would provide expertise that would fill the void that may exist within the ODP staff structure. ODP cabinet responsibilities may include, but would not be not limited to, finance, technology, regional and constituency representation.
TRAINING: We will review and augment our mentoring and training programs. Effective programs will provide the resources needed to establish and groom an ongoing “farm team” for both short-term and long-term success. I would work with established national, state and local partners to provide dynamic training opportunities for candidates and staff throughout our state. Additionally, I would work with County Chairs to develop training programs that directly correlate to the needs of their county.
FUNDRAISING: We will review and augment the finance plan with both small donor and major donors. The finance team will develop a fundraising strategy that includes direct solicitation, online, events, and PAC fundraising.
COMMITTMENT: For more than 25 years, I have made it my life’s work to elect democrats to offices throughout our state. I believe that I possess the long-term vision that will be required to chart the course forward.
In 1999, I co-founded and currently serve as CEO of Triumph Communications. Triumph Communications is a full-service strategic communications firm offering services in the areas of Public Affairs, Coalition Building and Democratic Political Campaigns. For the last fifteen years, I have represented numerous public and private sector clients, with an established record of accomplishment in community, government and public affairs. More detailed information may be found at: www.triumphcomm.com.
I began my career working on Judge Alice Robie Resnick’s campaign for the Ohio Supreme Court. With her victory, I followed my interest in statewide politics to Columbus. In 1990, I worked on Tony Celebrezze’s campaign for Governor. I went on to work at the Ohio Democratic Party under the leadership of State Party Chairs Gene Branstool, Harry Meshel and David Leland where I served in a variety of capacities including, deputy finance director, development director and political/executive director from 1991 to1996. It was in these positions at the Ohio Democratic Party that I developed strategies and shaped efforts to foster promote and develop hundreds of elected officials at the local, county and state levels. I also managed Ohio operations for the 1992 Democratic National Convention.
In 1996, I was honored to serve as Political Director for President Clinton’s reelection campaign in Ohio.. Following this victory, I received an appointment in the Clinton Administration and shortly became Director of Training and Talent for the Democratic National Committee, where I trained hundreds of campaign operatives across the country. Since I returned to Ohio, I have served as a general consultant/campaign manager for over 100 campaigns at the local, state and national levels. In 2004, I served as the Ohio State Director (Primary) for John Kerry for President. When Ohio turned blue in 2006, I was the campaign director for the successful campaigns of both Richard Cordray for State Treasurer and Jennifer Brunner for Secretary of State. After assisting in the administration of a successful presidential election in 2008, I returned to my company in 2009 to continue my work in recruiting, training and electing democrats to public office.
WIN RECORD The following are WINNING campaigns in which I have served as a campaign manager, campaign director or advisor:
Ohio Clinton /Gore 1996
Michael Coleman, Mayor of the City of Columbus, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011
John O’Grady, Franklin County Clerk of Courts, 2000
Andrew Ginther, Columbus School Board, 2001
Rhine McLin, Mayor of the City of Dayton, 2001, 2005
Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, Columbus City Council, 2001, 2005
Jennifer Brunner, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge, 2002
Richard Cordray, Franklin County Treasurer, 2004
Richard Frye , Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge 2004, 2010
Eric Brown, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge, 2004
Steve McIntosh, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge ,2004
John Kerry for President – Primary 2004
Andrew Ginther, Columbus City Council, 2005, 2007, 2011
Jennifer Brunner, Ohio Secretary of State, 2006
Richard Cordray, State Treasurer, 2006
Marilyn Brown, Franklin County Commissioner, 2006, 2011
Charleta Tavares, Columbus City Council, 2007
Mike Mentel, Columbus City Council, 2007
Priscilla Tyson, Columbus City Council, 2007, 2013
Hearcel Craig, Columbus City Council, 2007, 2011
Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, Franklin County Clerk of Courts, 2008
Ed Leonard, Franklin County Treasurer, 2008, 2012
Eric Brown, Franklin County Probate Judge, 2008
John O’Grady, Franklin County Commissioner, 2008
Laurel Beatty, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge, 2010
Andrea Peeples, Franklin County Municipal Court Judge, 2011
Kim Brown, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge, 2012
A.J. Wagner, State Board of Education, 2014
Teresa Fedor, State Representative 2014
Kevin Boyce, State Representative 2012, 2014
Hearcel Craig, State Representative, 2014
As I have thought through the work before us, I am reminded of the words of President Bill Clinton that offer the framing of my synopsis: “The primary goals of America’s political leaders should be to make people better off than when they started and to help people come together to do it. It’s important to help America grow together, not apart. ”
Thank you for the opportunity to share my vision. If elected, I am committed to bringing together a broad coalition of support as we continue forward. My credentials in Ohio and national politics have provided me the professional expertise and leadership to reestablish the Ohio Democratic Party and take it to the next level. I am tested, proven and ready to lead. I am grateful for your consideration in support of my candidacy for Ohio Democratic Party Chair. If you have any additional questions or comments, please contact me at 614.487.3526.