On Tuesday, Nov. 3, Ohioans elected 10 public officials from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, bringing in a record number of progressive LGBT voices, with positions ranging from school board to municipal court judge.
“The Ohio Democratic Party is proud to have recruited and groomed candidates across Ohio who reflect the great diversity of our party and our state,” Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said.
Amanda Armstrong, a third-year student at the College of Wooster, was elected to the Medina Educational Service Center Governing Board. Voters chose Kevin Johnson for Portsmouth City Council Ward 1. Nickie Antonio was picked for Lakewood City Council. Dayton City School Board will receive a new LGBT member Joe Lacey. Mark Tumeo was voted into Cleveland Heights City Council. Eric Resnick was elected to Canton City School Board. Bexley City School Board will welcome Carol Fey. Akron received a double dose of LGBT public officials in Sandra Kurt forAkron City Council Ward 8 and Jerry Larson for Akron Municipal Court. Jim Sands will join the Athens City Council.
“Democrats helped elect candidates young and old, male and female, gay and straight, from all geographical areas and of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds,” Redfern said. “Ohio Democrats fielded an unprecedented number of openly gay and lesbian candidates this year and achieved historic success by electing 10 of these candidates to office. We celebrate that success.”
The Victory Fund, which supports any out LGBT candidate running in an election for a position that he or she is qualified to hold, called the recent elections the most successful year for LGBT candidates outside of a national election.
Are the conservative tides changing for Ohio? It did go blue for Obama this same time last year. Cincinnati’s recently re-elected mayor is a dem. The representative for most of Hamilton County is Steve Driehaus, another democrat. Sen. Sherrod Brown, yet another democrat, was a co-sponsor of the Matthew Shephard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Protection Act, which toughened hate crime legislation already in place and brought LGBT people in as a protected class. Five Ohio representatives are co-sponsors of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Cincinnati’s representative in the Ohio House, Tyrone Yates, introduced a resolution to repeal the state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Even Ohio’s governor plays for the blue team.
Again, why are Cincinnati and Ohio notorious for being conservative?
Ohioians even legalized gambling this year. Around this time every year,an issue is on the ballot about legalizing gambling in Ohio, and every year it gets voted down: We wouldn’t want the Cin City to become the next Sin City, now would we? Why the change of heart?
Is it the economy? Were republicans responsible for dwindling pocketbooks? Why has this historically red state, a state that twice voted for George W. Bush as president, has had such a radical change recently?
Ohio has been all Reaganomics and family values. Now it has an equal housing and employment act in the works to protect LGBT people; the bill was already passed by the Ohio House.
Maybe the Buckeye State is seeing an upturn in liberal candidates and legislation. Let’s just sit back and see how the backlash pans out.