The West Union High School auditorium was filled with mingling crowds of people Thursday as the dinner sponsored by the Adams County Democratic Club got underway.
Prior to the dinner catered by Prather’s IGA, President of the Executive Committee Linda Stepp greeted arrivals. Individuals chatted amongst themselves as well as with visiting guests, including Judge John P. O’Donnell running for Ohio Supreme Court and Marek Tyszkiewicz (pronounced tiz-kev-ich) running for Ohio’s Congressional 2nd District. Judge O’Donnell is currently a Common Pleas judge for Cuyahoga County. Tyszkiewicz is an actuary and small business owner.
As the dinner reached its end, the speakers were presented. Adams County Commissioner Paul Worley introduced the keynote speaker for the night, State Senator Nina Turner, who is running for Ohio Secretary of State.
“Caring for our fellow citizens” was the theme of Turner’s speech. She is an amazing speaker, having a very personal quality in her presentations that relaxes the audience. At several points the speech became similar to a call-and-response sermon with Turner making a statement and a few individuals in the crowd calling out.
Turner spoke at length for almost 40 minutes, touching on such topics as the removal of collective bargaining, the gerrymandering of the state, the inequality in education funding, voter suppression, and raising the minimum wage.
“If we raise the minimum wage, we lift more families out of poverty. When families are lifted out of poverty, they have disposable income. When people have disposable income, they spend that disposable income, and, when people spend that money, they stimulate the economy. When people stimulate the economy, more jobs are created. When more jobs are created, the tax base increases. Then we have money to pay for roads and schools.”
Turner moved out from behind the podium and head tables to stand in front of the audience without notes.
Turner continued, “When we help people move out of poverty, we are really helping ourselves, because when our neighbor doesn’t have, we don’t have.
“We need people in Columbus who care about people. We have too many people getting into government for the wrong reasons. To be a public servant means you must be willing to serve the public, not yourself or special interests.”
Turner ended her speech be discussing her grandmother.
“My grandmother told me you only needed three bones - the wishbone, the jawbone, and the backbone. The wishbone will give you hope - hope is the motivator, the driver of everything we do. The jawbone will give you courage to speak truth to power. Finally, the backbone is the most important bone, as it keeps you standing through any trial or tribulation.”
Turner received a standing ovation before Thomas Jefferson Davis took the microphone. Turner’s energy fueled Davis’ speech, as he roused the audience with his strong words in a five minute speech.
“We treat people like people in Southern Ohio with respect and dignity, and that’s what we need Columbus to do. We need to treat our neighbors like neighbors,” said Davis. “We need to stop attacking local government, tap into the rainy day fund, let’s pave some roads, let’s put some people to work, let’s fund schools like we should, educate our people, and create jobs in Ohio.
“Our state tax dollars that we pay out of our pockets every day go to Columbus and they’re laying up there. They’re raising people’s property taxes. We should be funding local government, we should be funding schools, we should be taking care of our police officers, our fire fighters, and our veterans. There were two bills that would’ve helped veterans that laid dead in Columbus. We need to take care of our veterans coming home from Afghanistan.”
Ronny Richards was the final speaker of the night. Richards ran in the primary to be the Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District of Ohio. While he ended up losing overall to Tyszkiewicz, Richards carried Adams County with 42.97 percent of the Democratic voters with 275 votes to Tyszkiewicz’s 123 votes.
Richards speech was brief, as he thanked everyone for their votes and support; however, he said he was present to throw his support behind Tyszkiewicz. He hoped to see a big turnout in the 2014 election and asked for God to bless Adams County.
After the speeches the dinner moved on to a lively fund-raising auction, as several of the attendees went back and forth bidding on the many pies, cakes, breads, and jams offered. Dolly Osman, who donated items to the auction, recently turned 97 years old, so many of those who bid on her items bid exactly $97 in her honor.