A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAIR, JOHN HASELEY
Now’s the Time!
The Athens Democrats are so much more than a political organization. We are your neighbors, your friends, people working hard to make Athens County an even more amazing place.
We do politics, and so much more.
So if you’re interested in giving back to your community, consider plugging in with the Athens Dems.
- You can join Janalee Stock’s Community Service Committee which participates in food initiatives, litter clean up and other important causes. You’ve probably passed by their Little Free Library at Armory Park or may see them cleaning the shoreline at Strouds Run this weekend.
- If you have media interests, consider joining Lauren Dikis on the Communications Committee, work with Sara Boyd and Tanya Conrath on this great newsletter, or Hannah Fleming and Abi Scherer on social media.
- Like being involved at local public events, reach out to Patrice Beard about our Community Engagement activities. Interested in talking about public policy, join our Lunch and Learn sessions hosted by Andrea Reik and Solveig Spjeldnes.
- Want to be on the front lines of making sure that Athens continues to lead Ohio as our state’s only rural blue county, join Andrea and Janalee’s Neighborhood Campaign Committee.
- Or consider joining Kathy Hecht as a member of the County Central or Executive Committee if you want to help coordinate our County’s political strategy.
- Interested in finding creative and fun ways to fund the important work of electing good Democrats. Join Kate McGuckin on the Fundraising and Finance Committee! Kate, Kathy and Lisa Eliason put together our recent Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day fundraising campaigns you’ve seen in this newsletter.
We not only have something for everybody, we’re the most welcoming group you will ever encounter. So read more below about all the things you can engage in, and give us a shout. It will be fun, meaningful — and I promise you — it will make a real difference.
Volunteer Organizing Meeting – This Saturday
Shake off the winter duldrums by learning how you can get involved in the upcoming Primary! This election will decide our Democratic candidates for Ohio Governor and US Senate in November. If you’re new to volunteering, a primary election is a great way to dip your toe into the water by reaching out to county Democrats and doing voter registration. Committee co-chairs Janalee Stock and Andrea Reik will be joining with Lizzie Bjork, Ohio Democrat Party Regional Organizing Director, to host the meeting and organize volunteers. Join us Saturday, March 5 at 11:00 AM by either registering for the Zoom call or meeting in-person at the Athens Dem office. For more information, contact Andrea Reik at 740-591-1736 or Janalee Stock.
🍀 St. Patrick’s Day Fundraiser – Order by March 10 🍀
Join in the St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser! This special mug, made locally for our party by Sledding Hill Pottery, will be delivered along with magically delicious St. Patty’s Day cookies and treats. Keep or give as a special gift.
- Order by March 10 (just do it now, while it’s on your mind)
- $100 each
- Send name, address, phone number, and how many to: Kathy Hecht
- Delivery or Pick-up will be on March 16
- 3 Ways to Pay: (1) on delivery/pick-up, (2) online through ActBlue, or (2) send payment to ACDP, PO Box 191, Athens.
Lunch & Learn
Join us Wednesdays from 12 – 1 PM via Zoom for Lunch & Learn. The speakers are engaging, the topics are timely and it’s the best way to get insider information about what’s happening in the county and with the Dems.
- March 2 – Andrew Chikki, a true townie with a passion for history, will be presenting on the United Mine Workers of the late 1800’s and organizing efforts in Southeast Ohio. Register in advance here.
- March is Women’s History Month so watch for some interesting speakers. We have also been trying to keep our calendar open for candidates who will be on the ballot on the May 3rd Primary.
PUMPKIN’S READY FOR THE PRIMARY! ARE YOU?
Take note of these important dates for the upcoming Primary:
- April 4 – deadline to register to vote in the primary. You can register online, by mail, or in person at the Board of Elections. Details here.
- April 5 – early in-person voting begins at the Board of Elections; absentee voting by mail begins.
- April 30 – the deadline to request an absentee ballot is 12:00 PM noon.
- May 2 – Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by this date.
- May 2 – early in-person voting at the Board of Elections ends at 2:00 PM.
- May 3 – Primary Election Day! Polls are open 6:30 AM – 7:30 PM. Confirm your Athens County polling place here. Absentee ballots that are personally delivered (not mailed) to your County Board of Elections must be received by 7:30 p.m.
Tip from Pumpkin . . . you can now do all of the following online:
- Check your voter status
- Update your voter information
- Check voter I.D. requirements
- Register to vote using the Secretary of State’s online voter registration system or by completing a paper form and delivering it to the Athens County Board of Elections.
FOR THE GOOD OF THE ORDER
The office is currently open Wednesdays from 1:00-4:00 pm. If you are interested in volunteering to cover the office during the week, please email Andrea Reik.
Date Change – Update Your Calendar!
The Central and Executive Committees are now meeting on the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 PM. Contact John Haseley with questions.
CANDIDATE RECRUITMENT & TRAINING COMMITTEE solicits and advises candidates for elected and open positions, as well as for members of the Democrat Central Committee. To find out more or volunteer, email chair Roxanne Groff.
- What is the Central Committee? It’s the governing body of the local party and comprised of one elected representative from each of the 56 precincts in Athens County. Each member serves as the voice for their precinct; they vote on party-related matters such as electing party leadership, filling vacant seats on the Central Committee, appointing officials to fill vacant offices, and making changes to the party’s governing rules. Members serve on committees, work on campaigns, participate in fundraisers, and other grassroots activities.
- How do I become a member of the Central Committee? The list of current Central Committee members can be found here. A handful of precinct seats are vacant so let Roxanne know about Democrats that might be interested.
COMMUNICATION COMMITTEE advances our Party’s message and principles through various communication channels and strategies. To find out more or volunteer, email chair Lauren Dikis. For more about Lauren, see the “Welcome to the Party” section of this newsletter.
- We are working on ways to support our candidates this fall with expanding our social media reach, press outreach and building our newsletter audience.
- If you are interested in spreading the word about policies that we support and do not support, contact Solveig Spjeldnes who’s coordinating Letters to the Editor. She will help you craft and edit a letter that makes a point you care about. Then, she’ll give you the information you need to send it to area newspapers.
COMMUNITY SERVICE COMMITTEE supports our communities through volunteer projects. To find out more or volunteer, email chair Janalee Stock.
- Athens ReThink Plastics is collecting feedsacks to upcycle into reusable bags. Please make sure they are empty, and preferably have been sprayed (we don’t want mice in our office)! We have big plans for this year, so if you are interested in joining the effort to decrease the impact of plastics on our health and the environment, please join us. Sewing bags is just one part of what we do, but know that one reusable bag is said to replace 700 single use plastic bags!
FINANCE & FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE ensures there are funds to maintain operations and support local candidates, and holds events to raise funds and awareness. To find out more or volunteer, email chair Kate McGuckin.
- We need your donation NOW to support our party during the 2022 election cycle! Take advantage of our St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser to receive a locally made mug customized for the Athens Dems! See the “Upcoming Events” section of this newsletter for details.
- 💙Valentine’s Day Fundraiser💙 update: We sold 22 mugs and raised $2,200! Thanks to Kathy Hecht, Lisa Eliason, and John Haseley for their time and generosity and to each of our donors that made this a success!
NEIGHBORHOOD CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE organizes activities that develop connections, inform residents about democratic values, and help elect Democrats. To find out more or volunteer, email co-chair Andrea Reik.
- Volunteer Organizing Meeting – Saturday, March 5 at 11:00 AM. It’s time to organize and we need you as part of our grassroots efforts! Committee co-chairs Janalee Stock and Andrea Reik will be joining with Lizzie Bjork, ODP Regional Organizing Director, to host the meeting and organize volunteers. Come in-person to the Athens Dem office or click here to register for the Zoom call. See the “Upcoming Events” section of this newsletter for details.
WELCOME TO THE PARTY!
Lauren is our new Communication Committee Chair and brings quite the resume to our county party! She is the managing director at New Blue Interactive and known as one of the country’s premier Democratic fundraisers. In 2019, Lauren was the National Finance Director for Cory Booker‘s presidential campaign, managing a team that raised over $25 million. She previously served as Booker’s Finance Director for his initial Senate run and subsequent re-election, and as an integral part of Vice President Kamala Harris’s 2016 Senate fundraising team. Lauren was the Campaign Services Director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, spent two cycles at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and has worked in field and management positions on multiple local, congressional and statewide campaigns. An Athens native, Lauren received her degree in Political Science from Ohio University in 2001. She can be reached via email.
My job as ODP Regional Director of Party Affairs is to help strengthen our county parties, build up Democratic Party infrastructure, and support our candidates running for office. I will be working on developing a Three Year Growth and Development Plan for each of the 24 county parties in my region as a blueprint for our future and I am excited to brainstorm with you about possible goals!
My roots are in Mingo Junction (just south of Steubenville) in Jefferson County. In 2018, I was Campaign Manager for Shawna Roberts during her run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Ohio’s 6th. Following that, I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and worked in City Planning and Economic Development for a couple years in Weirton, WV. In 2020, I was Campaign Manager for Michael Fletcher during his run for State Senate in Ohio’s 30th and provided consulting services to a State House of Representatives campaign.
Even though I’m based in Jefferson County, I will be constantly traveling and available to meet either in person or over zoom! My phone number is 740-632-6021 and my email is email@example.com. You can also follow me on twitter @kaleb_knowlton and friend me on Facebook and LinkedIn. Our Main Street training program is coming up so if you are interested in learning more about running for office be sure to let me know and I can get you information.
As ODP Regional Organizing Director for SE Ohio, I currently cover 24 counties and focus on developing relationships with Democrat activists and helping prepare for November 8. By the time we get to the primary, I’ll have a full team of organizers to help me cover the region, and they’ll focus on recruiting and training volunteers on reaching out to organizers directly.
I last worked for Amy McGrath in Western Kentucky, and I really enjoy rural organizing because of the deep relationships you build. I live in Athens and am excited to be on the ground so early because it gives me a chance to learn more about the area and help build upon the existing infrastructure. I’ll be hosting weekly zoom trainings at 6 pm on Wednesdays. which will soon be posted on this dashboard. I’d love to connect with you all over coffee or zoom. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, work phone is 740-762-0422. We can also connect over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, carrier pigeon, etc.
LEGISLATION AND REDISTRICTING UPDATES
HB109: Co-sponsored by Rep. Jay Edwards, the riot-related offenses bill passed the House. Democrats say the bill’s broad and vague language is designed to have a chilling effect on First Amendment rights and is really about race. Read the full article here which also notes that there are no Black members of the Ohio House Republican caucus.
HB290: The bill would allow students to take funding that would normally go to the public school districts with them as they opt for a private school option. “The so-called “backpack bill” has been criticized by public education officials as yet another siphoning of funds away from public schools, which they say does not create the “thorough and efficient” system of schooling required of the state by the constitution.” Read the full article here.
The Columbus Dispatch piece on Eight ways Ohio Republicans are working to remake public education discusses multiple pieces of legislation at the statehouse that impact public schools. “When you look at all these bills together, I think this paints a really clear picture that there is an attack happening on public education,” Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper said. “The right wing is trying to divide us and pass bills to create a culture war.”
SB215 and HB227: Under Ohio law, people who wish to carry a concealed weapon must pass a background check, show proof of eight hours of training and ‘promptly’ inform officers they are carrying a concealed weapon during a stop. Both chambers have passed separate but similar versions of a bill that would eliminate all of these requirements and make Ohio a “permitless carry” state. A final version will have to be agreed upon and sent to Governor DeWine who seems likely to sign it. Read more here.
NOTE: This month we’re covering the latest redistricting news in the “Talk Like a Democrat” section of this newsletter, below.
TALK LIKE A DEMOCRAT
What is going on with redistricting in Ohio? What a mess!
It certainly is a mess! The new maps should have been in place by now, but no. What’s the problem? The gerrymandered maps Republicans rammed through so far were rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court (OSC) for not meeting Ohio Constitutional requirements for fair representation. Then, the OSC gave the Ohio Redistricting Commission (comprised of 5 R and 2 D legislators) until midnight on February 17th to submit constitutional maps. On that day, the Republicans refused to agree to the Democrats maps even though they met requirements. During these hearings, I watched Sen. Pres. Huffman and House Speaker Cupp try to bully Minority Leader Allison Russo and make ridiculous statements – like complaining it was impossible to create new maps in such a short time. Pass the whine and crackers… Russo was masterful in her calm and reasoned responses. Made me proud to be a Democrat.
Under the OSC’s threat of contempt of court charges for not making the deadline, the Ohio Redistricting Commission passed a new set of legislative maps on the 24th by a 4/3 vote – with both Dems voting NO. Once again, these new Ohio House and Ohio Senate maps unduly favor Republicans. After the Commission filed these legislative maps with the court, Attorney General Yost requested that the contempt of court hearing be postponed. If these maps stand, they would need to be re-done in four years rather than in ten years per Constitutional mandate.
After hearings last week regarding a new congressional map, Huffman announced a new hearing on Tuesday, March 1 to discuss and vote on it.
Whether any of these maps will pass muster with the court will be seen. To add to the circus, on Friday a group of Republicans filed a federal lawsuit to ask to have the the existing maps reinstated.
What do these delays mean for the Boards of Elections that have tight deadlines to get ballots ready for a May 3rd primary? Will be primary be postponed?
Actions you can take:
- Log your call to the commission telling them to use the Fair District’s model Congressional map
- Send an email to the commission telling them to use Fair District’s model Congressional Maps
DONATE TO THE ACDP
We are so grateful to 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, please do so today
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