What were the odds of me sitting at the same table with Congresswoman Marcie Kaptur, union guru Harriet Applegate, former Cuyahoga County Democrats Executive Director Colleen Corrigan Day, and one Michael Cook? Well, pretty good since I went to that Ohio Dem Listening Tour meeting in Valley View Ohio this morning. It was one of a series of meetings sponsored by Democratic Party Groups in wake of this year’s Election Day fiasco which prompted Party Chairman Chris Redfern to finally hand in his resignation.
I thought I was running late getting there but, as I pulled into the drive of the Teamster’s Hall it was being held, Congresswoman Kaptur was just getting out of her car (and came over to say hi) and registration was still going on inside. There were some new faces, which was good, but many of the usual suspects as well. I managed to sit down with some friends from Lake County and grabbed a few cookies before the thing got started.
We wound up moving into groups to re-invent the wheel; which is where I wound up sitting with all of the above. The group leaders, including the kid (who called me ‘sir’ at one point) in ours, put down on paper taped to the wall with magic markers what we thought. This reminded me of what that Mr. David Cooperrider of Case Western Reserve did with his ‘appreciative inquiry’ at the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit five years ago. Much Ado About Nothing?
One of the things I brought up that the kid didn’t like, but got some of my fellow group members interested in, was my belief that the State Party and its staff should be more responsive to the needs of the county and local clubs. Now, this includes races on that level; not just state or nation wide, such as for a county commissioner. For years, Columbus hasn’t done that unless they mail things out for fundraisers most can’t afford. I have to admit that others brought up some very good points. For example this lady next to me truly believed that one of the reasons so many Democrats lost in this cycle in Ohio is that the party lost ‘the message’. They should’ve talked about raising the minimum wage for example and not try to shirk away from key party issues, nor the President. Of course, we all agreed that NE Ohio should have a lot more prominence in State party decisions.
It is very important to find out what the rank and file of any organization thinks needs to be done when things go wrong. Therefore, the Listening Tour is a very good idea. I don’t at all argue with Congresswoman Kaptur’s comments that many people have come to previous meetings with real ideas on how to make the Ohio Democratic Party more responsive to voters. That’s a great thing. Yet, I have seen this before and wonder…I know that I’m pretty jaded. Yet, I do truly believe that public service is a good thing, and political parties must play a role.
I didn’t stay for the duration, having to leave early to head out to Concord Ohio for something that turned out to be a lot more fun. However, if, if, and if, maybe, perhaps, whoever is voted in as the new state chairperson actually reads these ideas of those in that room, and puts some of them into effect, that would be amazing; since that has never been done before.