FROM OUR CHAIR SEAN PARSONS
2023 has been one heck of a year! From our local election successes to the state battles over reproductive freedom, it’s been a real honor to be associated with each and every one of you. As we reflect on those successes and gear up for 2024, let’s also take time to show our gratitude for all those who have given their time and resources to make all of our victories possible. Each and every one of you are the key to successful ballot initiatives and those who hold office.
Thank you for making 2023 a year of victory!
THANK YOU, VOLUNTEERS!
On November 7th, Ohio passed Issue 1, the Reproductive Freedom Amendment, by a 56.62% passage rate statewide, and a rate of 71.67% ( ! ) in Athens County. This is due to the hundreds of volunteers locally who ushered in its passage. Thank you, thank you! Athens County rocks.
Our effort began in February 2023, as volunteers with the Athens Dems and other local groups collected signatures to place the proposed Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot. The ACDP office served as the petition distribution site and we hosted multiple signature-gathering events: tabling at the farmers market, drive-thrus at the Athens City pool, and gatherings of friends at local breweries and in homes. All of this happened thanks to the several hundred volunteers who took action, stepping up to protect all Ohioans’ reproductive rights.
Volunteers rocked it: Athens County was third in Ohio for percentage of collected petition signatures, with over 4,000 signers. As part of this effort we also registered new voters in the community and on campus, as they were called to sign and be ready to vote.
In July 2023, the required 413,000 certified Ohio voters had signed on to put the Reproductive Freedom Amendment on the ballot, but Republicans in the statehouse and congress challenged the voice of the people. The Ohio Statehouse voted to hold a special election in August, intended to raise the passage rate of a state constitutional amendment to 60% from the current 50%, undercutting democracy. Our battle call in response was “Vote No on Issue 1, let democracy remain”. Once again volunteers were active in canvassing, writing postcards, writing letters to the editors, and much more, and the effort to raise the passage rate to 60% was defeated.
In November, our battle cry was “YES on Issue 1” to codify reproductive rights in the Ohio Constitution. Once again volunteers took action: canvassing Athens County, distributing 400 postcards and 500 yard signs, and following up with mail-in voters. And finally, being present at the Athens County Courthouse, leading up to Election Day, to encourage people to vote. The response from so many was high and we successfully passed Issue 1, the Reproductive Freedom Amendment.
Thanks to all of you! Together we made such a difference.
Looking ahead, voting groups are beginning to gather signatures for Citizens Not Politicians, which would end political gerrymandering (see below for more). Stay tuned in 2024!
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
Dec 9 – Sign Petitions at the Farmers Market TODAY
During the farmers market this Saturday (today) from 9 am – 12 pm, join fellow activists in the parking lot of the Community Center to sign a petition for the Citizens Not Politicians amendment proposal. Some local Democratic candidates, for various offices, will also be present to collect signatures for their 2024 election bids. See the “Elections in 2024” section below for more about candidates and the proposed amendment.
Dec 13 – Meet-and-Greet: Ari Faber, Candidate for Ohio Senate
Join us this Wednesday from 1- 6 pm at the Athens Dems office to meet Ari Faber, Candidate for Ohio Senate District 30. He’s collecting signatures for his run.
Dec 13 – SE Ohio Labor Union Holiday Dinner
This Wednesday at Hocking College’s The Inn in Nelsonville, please join us at a free holiday dinner hosted by Southeast Ohio Central Labor Council. Social hour begins at 6 pm, and dinner and door prizes at 6:30 pm. Contact Ted Linscott for more information at 740-707-5182 or email@example.com.
Dec 20 – Deadline to Sign Petitions for 2024
The last call to sign petitions, in support of amendments and Democratic candidates for office in 2024, is Dec 20 at 4 pm. Stop by the Athens Dems office any Wednesday 1 – 4 pm to sign petitions, or contact candidates directly. See the “Elections in 2024” section below for details.
Dec 22 – Give Holiday Cards to Nursing Home Residents
Please join us in making and delivering holiday cards to four area nursing homes. See the “Volunteer Opportunities” section below for details.
Dec 26 – Registration Deadline: Be a DNC Delegate in 2024!
The 2024 Democratic National Convention (DNC) delegate selection process is open. Serve your country by representing Ohio District 12 this August in Chicago! The deadline to apply is Tuesday, December 26 at 4 pm ET. See the “Volunteer Opportunities” section below for details.
Jan 15 – MLK Silent March & Celebratory Brunch
The MLK Jr. 2024 Silent March will convene on Monday, January 15, 2024 at 10:30 am at Good Shepherd Church, at 64 University Terrace in Athens. The annual march, led by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, invites reflection on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s mission and impact.
Following the Silent March, the annual MLK Jr. Celebratory Brunch will take place in Baker Center Ballroom at 11 am on Monday, January 15, 2024, with food and refreshments provided. Featuring vocal and dance performances and a keynote address by OHIO alumna Tiffany Bowden, M.A., Ph.D. Tickets are required to attend brunch; for tickets and more info visit: https://www.ohio.edu/diversity/history-and-heritage-programming/dr-mlk-jr-celebration
Interested in helping sponsor a table for the OU College Democrats? Contact Patrice Beard at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved or with any questions.
Feb 20 – Voter Registration Deadline for Primary
Deadline for voter registration for the March 19 presidential primary election (30 days before presidential primary election).
March 19 – Primary Election Day
Polls will be open from 6:30 am – 7:30 pm.
Send Holiday Cards to Nursing Homes
Please help us reach our goal of having 300 holiday cards ready to distribute to four area nursing homes by Friday, December 22.
Once you’ve made the cards, drop them off at the Athens Dems office on any of these dates:
- Monday, December 18: 2 – 3 pm
- Tuesday, December 19: 4 – 5 pm
- Wednesday, December 20: 5 – 6 pm
- Thursday, December 21: 4 – 5 pm
- Friday, December 22: 8 – 9 am
Cards will be divided and delivered to Kimes, Laurels, Lindley Inn, and Hickory Creek sometime after 9 am on December 22. To join the effort or with any questions, contact Janalee Stock at 740-707-1531 or email@example.com.
Guidance on card creation:
- Card should be left unsealed in envelopes
- Address the card to either “Dear Friend” or “Dear Neighbor”
- Sign your name, or “A Friend” or “Your Athens County Neighbor”
- Non-denominational greetings are preferred, such as “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”
- Please, no political statements, as the goal is simply to share the holiday spirit
- Consider sharing messages your own grandparents would enjoy seeing in holiday cards, such as describing favorite winter memories: warm fireplaces during snowstorms, birds at the feeder, sledding and ice skating, mulled cider and hot chocolate, sleigh rides, a new puppy, your own kids’ excitement, deer hunting, funny jokes, favorite recipes…
Be a DNC Delegate in 2024!
The Ohio Democratic Party announced that the 2024 Democratic National Convention (DNC) delegate selection process is open. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, December 26 at 4 pm ET. Ohio Democrats can visit ohiodems.org/convention to learn more about the process, and to complete their declaration of candidacy forms for the 2024 convention in Chicago during August 19 – 22, 2024.
“Ohio Democrats are excited to head to Chicago next August, mark the progress we’ve made over the last four years and look ahead to the work that remains to move our state and country forward. We’re ready to elect a broad, diverse coalition of delegates to Chicago and show off our Ohio pride at the 2024 Democratic National Convention,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters.
DNC Delegates help nominate the Democratic candidate for President. A total of 83 district delegates from Ohio and eight district alternates will be elected to represent Ohio at the 2024 DNC, in addition to at-large delegates and others representing the Ohio Democratic Party. Caucuses will take place in each of Ohio’s 15 congressional districts on January 9, 2024; as an Athens County resident, you’d represent Ohio District 12.
Seeking Vehicles for Parades in 2024
Do you have a vehicle or trailer and you support democracy? We need you! This spring and summer, the Athens Dems are seeking volunteers to drive in parades and/or lend their vehicles and trailers to the effort. Ideas of themes and designs for floats are also appreciated! Contact Patrice Beard at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved or with any questions.
ELECTIONS IN 2024
The 2024 election season is right around the corner! The primary will be March 19, 2024.
As candidates for 2024 campaigns have until December 20 to complete their campaign petitions, along with the required signatures, what’s reported here may evolve so stay tuned. The following is an overview of the current field; the Athens Dems will soon share more information on candidates, and will endorse candidates for contested primary races.
Athens County Treasurer – Current Treasurer Ric Wasserman announced that he would not be running again for the County Treasurer position. To date, two Democratic candidates – Beth Clodfelter and Taylor Sappington – have announced their intention to run for this vacant position.
Athens County Commissioner – Chris Chmiel has filed for re-election for his current Commissioner position. At this time no other Democrat has been identified as a challenger.
Athens County Commissioner – Charlie Adkins has filed for re-election for his current Commissioner position. Amy Renner, fellow Democrat and Chauncey Mayor, has submitted her petition to run for this position.
Athens County Sheriff – Current Sheriff, Democrat Rodney Smith, has filed for re-election.
The most recently redistricted maps in Ohio have dramatically altered Athens County in the Ohio House. Athens County has been divided into two Ohio House Districts: Ohio House 94th and Ohio House 95th.
We are excited that two Democrats are filing to run for these positions: Lish Greiner in the 95th Ohio House District, and Wenda Sheard in the 94th.
Lish Greiner, a seasoned nursing administrator, who most recently served as the Executive Director at The Lindley Inn, retired her nursing cap to start a small business in Athens. She has a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from OU.
*The newly gerrymandered 95th District where Lish Greiner is running includes the City of Athens, most of Athens Township, as well as Canaan, Rome, and Bern Townships. The 95th District also includes Morgan, Noble, and Harrison Counties, as well as parts of Guernsey and Belmont Counties.
Wenda Sheard, an attorney and former teacher with a PhD in Political Science, who recently served nearly three years as the Domestic Relations Magistrate in Hocking County, is running in the 94th District.**
**The newly gerrymandered 94th District includes the rest of Athens County, including most of The Plains in Athens Township. The 94th District also includes Washington and Meigs Counties.
Ari Faber (he/him) is collecting signatures to run as a Democrat for Ohio Senate District 30; you may know him as the Outreach Director at United Campus Ministry. He’s hosting a meet-and-greet at the Athens Dems office this Wednesday, December 13 from 1 – 6 pm.
Ohio State Board of Education
Michelle Newman, current State School Board Member for the 8th District, is running for re-election. Although Newman was elected to District 9, it became District 8 after boundary changes caused by Republican-led redistricting.
Ohio Supreme Court
By electing democracy-upholding justices in 2024, Ohioans can fight for freedom by flipping the Supreme Court. Ohio Republicans have controlled a majority of seats on the seven-member high court since 1986; the GOP currently holds four of seven seats.
Current Democratic US Senator Sherrod Brown has filed to run again for this position, a seat he’s held since 2007.
And of course…
Joe Biden is seeking re-election in November. There is one announced Democratic challenger, US Representative (MN) Dean Phillips.
Statewide Amendment: Citizens Not Politicians
Multiple election organizations under the initiative “Citizens Not Politicians” have met the requirements to begin collecting signatures to place the amendment on the ballot, with a goal of statewide voting in November 2024. This proposed amendment would ban lobbyists and politicians from leading the redistricting process; instead a 15-person commission would draw the districts.
To read the ballot language visit: https://www.citizensnotpoliticians.org/petition/
This week petitions are being distributed for signature collection. If you’re interested in collecting signatures or signing a petition, contact the local ACLU, or local League of Women Voters members Deb Schmieding at email@example.com or Adriane Mohlenkamp at firstname.lastname@example.org. Signatures are due early July, 2024.
As of this writing the Ohio Democratic Party has not yet endorsed this amendment, and petitions are not available through the Athens County Democratic Party; we anticipate this will change soon. In the meantime, to learn more about the proposed amendment contact Solveig Spjeldnes at email@example.com or Andrea Reik at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Athens Dems office any Wednesday 1 – 4 pm.
The 2024 election cycle will be as busy as it is important. Please get involved!
For the month of December, the Athens County Democratic Party office will be open Wednesdays 1 – 4 pm.
Come visit us at 74 E State St, near the intersection of Stimson Ave uptown. This is a community space, hospitable to large gatherings; to use the office for a meeting, contact Andrea Reik at email@example.com.
ACDP COMMITTEE UPDATES
Community Service Committee – Chair Janalee Stock
The season of gratitude and giving is upon us, so join in delivering holiday cards to nursing home residents – our goal is to deliver 300 cards! See the section above, “Volunteer Opportunities”, for more details. Thank you, in advance, for joining!
Finance Committee – Chair Kate McGuckin
Sally Jo Wiley has agreed to Co-Chair this Committee with Kate McGuckin in 2024. This is an extremely important year as we need to fundraise for the General Election in November!
Please consider donating a monthly stipend to keep our office and elect a Democratic Majority. As a team, I know ACDP can do it!!!!
Communication Committee – Chair Ashley Sarver
We’re seeking a new Communication Committee Intern to start in January, and hopefully continuing on through the 2024 election cycle, although we’re open to semester-long commitments also. This is a unique opportunity to gain real-world social media experience – a chance to design and execute a social media strategy on behalf of ACDP! If you know of any capable and interested students (college or high school) please encourage them to contact Ashley Sarver at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 20 to learn more or apply.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!
The Athens County Democratic Party stands in solidarity and celebration with all holidays and traditions: Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Bodhi Day (belated), Diwali (also belated), and Festivus.
And have a Happy New Year!
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
The Athens County Democratic Party newsletter is a great way to stay informed about events, candidates and ballot issues. Sign-up to receive a copy of our e-newsletter each month.
DONATE TO YOUR LOCAL PARTY
We thank everyone who has financially supported the ACDP in the past. The fight to defend democracy and turn Ohio blue is far from over. If you have not donated recently to the ACDP, and have the means to do so, please donate today.
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