A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAIR, JOHN HASELEY
The people who make up the Athens County Democratic Party are awesome! It’s hard to imagine how any group could be more talented or more committed to the cause.
And they know, no matter how good you are, you can always strive to do better. That’s why the party is embarking on a strategic planning initiative, and we need your help!
Solveig Spjeldnes is heading up this effort, and you’ll be hearing from her seeking your input and involvement.
How can the party better communicate with you and the community? How can we be more effective; more responsive; have programming that speaks to you?
There’s no better time to get involved and help shape the future of our local party. We look forward to hearing from you! Keep reading below for more information.
STRATEGIC PLANNING UNDERWAY
The time is now to build the party and work cooperatively to turn Ohio Blue. The extremism and lies that have dominated on the right can only be turned around if we work smartly and strategically. To make that happen, ODP has invited county parties to take part in the County Party Growth & Development Initiative, which involves creating a Strategic Plan through 2024. Participating counties will have their assessment waived and gain the opportunity to apply for grants.
John Haseley and Kaleb Knowlton, our Regional Director of Party Affairs, are providing guidance to our core Strategic Planning Committee led by Solveig Spjeldnes along with Sean Parsons, Andrea Reik, Kathy Hecht, and our strategic planning advisor John Molinaro.
This week, we will distribute an online survey and send invitations asking members to participate in a series of group interviews. Please take the time to read these emails and respond. We want a plan that inspires all our county Dems to act and honest input is vital.
If you have any questions, comments or want to participate, email Solveig Spjeldnes.
Spring Dinner Returns!
Join your fellow Athens County Democrats Wednesday, June 15 for our first spring dinner in over two years! Happy hour begins at 5 PM followed by dinner at 6 PM at the American Legion Hall, 520 West Union Street, Athens. Tickets are $25 at the door or mail your check to ACDP, PO Box 191, Athens, OH 45701.
Glouster First Fridays
Bring a chair and join the Athens Dems on Friday, June 3 between 5 – 8 PM at First Fridays, a Glouster community gathering happening through August (July 1, August 5) at Sedalia Crossing Park located in the middle of town, across from the United Bank. If you can commit to attending one or more dates, email Patrice Beard.
Athens ReThinks Plastics Sewing Bee
Come join us June 5, 2-5 PM for ReThinks Plastics Sewing Bee, where we will transform bird and dog food sacks into reusable plastic bags! Last year, 500 upcycled bags were given away at all seven county libraries, and we hope to do the same this year! Can you donate a bag? Or prep the bags? Or sew them together? We would love your help! For more information and to volunteer, please contact Janalee Stock.
Coolville Founders Day Parade
Come hand out flags to the crowd at the first parade of the season! On Saturday, June 11 meet up with the Athens County Democrats at 9:00 AM to prepare for the 10:00 AM start. Park on Main Street and look for Patrice Beard. Wear a white or blue t-shirt – Patrice will bring some extras. Please let her know that you’re coming by emailing.
Athens Pride Fest Field Day
June is Pride Month, and we will have a table at the Southeastern Ohio Rainbow Alliance’s Pride Fest Field Day, Sunday, June 12 at 12 PM at the Richland Avenue Park, 8493 Dairy Lane. More information about this family-friendly event is available here. To volunteer, contact Patrice Beard. Set up begins at 11:30 AM.
Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. We will be participating in Ohio University’s celebration by hosting a table at the College Green, Saturday June 18 from 3-6 PM. We need three volunteers for one-hour shifts. To volunteer, contact Patrice Beard. For event information, click here.
Lunch & Learn
Please join us for LUNCH & LEARN every Wednesday from 12-1 PM.
- May 25 – Shannon Stewart, AmeriCorps director, Rural Action. Register here.
- June 1 – John Molinaro, founder & principal of RES Associates, will discuss Jobs Ohio and the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth. Register here.
- June 8 – Solveig Spjeldnes and Sean Parsons will present about the ACDP Strategic Planning
- June 15, 22, 29 – TBA
Continue to follow the Athens Dem FB page or the weekly L&L email for updates and registration links. If you are not on the email list, please contact Andrea.
FOR THE GOOD OF THE ORDER
- Hours – The office is open Wednesdays 1:00-4:00 currently but we will be adding a later afternoon time soon so that we can return to talking about and taking action on current issues in-person!
- Yard Signs – We have not received yard signs or candidate materials for the general election but will post on FB and in this newsletter when they arrive.
- Reserve the Office – If you would like to reserve the office space for a meeting, please contact Andrea Reik.
Central and Executive Committee Meeting Update
Meetings are now on the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 PM. However, because of the statutory timeline for our Reorganization meeting, we changed our May meeting to June 1 at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Courtroom. If anyone has questions or concerns about the date or venue for Reorganization, please let John know.
Meet Natalie Flanagan, Democratic Party Field Organizer
Welcome Natalie Flanagan!
Hello! I’m Natalie (she/her), your new Field Organizer here in Athens County! I’m so excited to finally hit the ground running with you all and get moving on taking back the State of Ohio during the Midterms! I’m from Toledo, Ohio, originally and have been living in Athens for almost 10 months now. Before attending Ohio University (where I only have 1 year left!), I briefly attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh! Since I’ve been in Athens, I was an intern for the Allison Russo Campaign, a barista at Donkey Coffee in uptown, and the Interim President of the United Rural Democrats of America PAC!
Given my work with Allison, I’ve already met some folks, but even if we’ve met, we should touch base and sit down for a 1:1 meeting! We can schedule by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to sit down for coffee, brunch, or even just a Zoom call! You can also follow me on Twitter @NatinOhio! Looking forward to meeting with you all again or for the first time!
COMMUNICATION COMMITTEE advances our Party’s message and principles through various communication channels and strategies. To find out more or to volunteer, email chair Lauren Dikis. We have three requests this month:
- Columnist for Talk Like A Democrat for June and July – Thank you Susan Quinn, Board Chair, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, for being our guest columnist for this month’s “Talk Like a Democrat.” If you would like to be our guest columnist for our June or July editions, please email Sara Boyd. We will help you pick a topic and provide editing – give it a try!
- Join our committee – We need two more members to support our efforts to spread the word far and wide about events and candidates. If you already enjoy social media or writing, please join us!
- Follow Athens Dems on social media – The more followers we have on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the easier it is to get the word out, rally our base, and keep Athens County blue!
COMMUNITY SERVICE COMMITTEE supports our communities through volunteer projects. To find out more or to volunteer, email chair Janalee Stock.
- Did you know that the recycling rate for plastics in the US is approximately 5-6%? The other 95% ends up being discarded in incinerators, landfills, waterways, or shipped to other countries. We will be holding a ReThink Plastics Sewing Bee June 5 to make reusable plastic bags. See our “Upcoming Events” section.
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.
- We are working with ODP on a local plan to map out activities leading up to the November election and recruiting volunteers to keep Athens County blue! Activities include canvassing, voter registration, telephone banking, community events, texting and whatever else we can come up with. We want your ideas and your time to make this happen.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE organizes our participation in community events, parades, and festivals. To find out more or volunteer at one of our upcoming events below email Patrice Beard.
- We need 2-3 volunteers for Glouster First Fridays! The gathering happens between 5 – 8 PM at Sedalia Crossing Park across from the Unified Bank. We’ll set up chairs and a table and have signs and other campaign materials available. Are you a candidate? This is a great way to meet your constituents! Let Patrice know you’re interested in helping on one or more of these Fridays: June 3, July 1, August 5.
- Help us kick off the 2022 Parade/Festival season by marching in the June 11 Coolville Founders Day Parade.
- June is Pride Month, and we will host a table at Athens Pride Fest Field Day, Sunday, June 12 from 12 PM at Richland Park, 8493 Dairy Lane.
- We will be hosting a table at Ohio University’s Juneteenth celebration, Saturday June 18 from 3 – 6 PM at the College Green. For more information about OU’s celebration, click here.
LEGISLATION AND REDISTRICTING UPDATES
HB616: The bill has now been assigned to the State and Local Government Committee. This is copycat “Don’t Say Gay” legislation from Florida but made even more repugnant with its ban on “divisive concepts.” It would prohibit schools from teaching, using, or providing any materials on sexual orientation or gender identity in K-3rd grades. And “it would ban other divisive concepts such as the 1619 Project, critical race theory, intersectional theory, inherited racial guilt, diversity, equity, and inclusion learning outcomes and ‘any other concept that the state board of education defines as divisive or inherently racist.” The Ohio Education Association is vehemently opposed to the bill and urges citizens to take action.
HB454: The Ohio House Committee on Families, Aging, and Human Services held its second hearing on the bill that would prohibit physicians and other medical health care professionals from providing gender transition procedures to any person under 18-years-old. Those banned procedures would include prescribing medication – such as puberty blockers – and performing gender confirmation surgery. Read Equality Ohio’s statement about the dangers of the bill here and a recent news piece here..
HB598: The Ohio House Government Oversight committee held its second hearing on Ohio’s “trigger ban” which would ban abortion in Ohio if Roe v. Wade were overturned by the US Supreme Court. For more information and to take action, see the “Talk Like a Democrat” section of this newsletter, below.
Athens gets a shout-out in this May 19 article analyzing how it is that Republicans rule our state when the six major cities are mostly made up of Democrats.
“Only seven of Ohio’s 88 counties chose Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020 — Hamilton, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Montgomery, Lucas, and Summit — all big city counties except little old Athens County, home to Ohio University and the blue dot in the middle of very red Southeast Ohio.”
State Maps: On April 20, a federal court ruled that if new maps are not in place by May 28 (this Saturday), the court will implement the set of maps adopted by the commission on February 24 (the “third” set of maps) even though they were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Read more here. “This is a terrible ruling. It rewards scofflaws and gerrymanderers for their egregious delay tactics, brazen defiance of the Ohio Constitution and the Ohio Supreme Court, and total disrespect for Ohio voters,” wrote Fair Districts Ohio.
Congressional Maps: Despite continued legal challenges, we are stuck with the current maps for 2022. Note that Athens County is now entirely in the 12th District.
TALK LIKE A DEMOCRAT
What will happen when Roe is overturned? Abortion will be illegal in Ohio.
Following the recently leaked draft decision from the Supreme Court, millions of Americans are on high alert because essential health care is on the line. While the leaked decision is a draft, we know the outcome will be the end of legal abortion in most of America including here in Ohio. To say this ruling is devastating is an understatement. Abortion is health care and is supported by 80% of Americans, including the majority of Ohioans. It should not be stigmatized, it should not be used as a political bargaining chip, and it absolutely should not be illegal.
Right now, there are two trigger bans, legislation that would ban abortion in the state if Roe is overturned, moving through the Ohio legislature. Governor DeWine has publicly agreed to sign one of the bans if it makes it to his desk. If signed into law, Ohio and other gerrymandered and red states will be left with a logistical challenge to send people to neighboring states for abortion care because Roe v. Wade will no longer be in place to protect them. We know the future seems frightening, yet we also know the severity of the situation and cannot give up the fight for bodily autonomy for all.
But as of today, it’s important to remember that nothing has changed. The law is still binding, and abortion is currently still legal in Ohio. A draft opinion has no legal authority and abortion still remains a constitutional right.
But what can others do right now? We have strength in numbers and power in our united voices, so please also continue to:
- Help Planned Parenthood ensure they have the financial sustainability necessary to ensure this continued essential care through an urgent investment in their work.
- Alert your lawmakers that Ohioans will not go quietly and that this is only the beginning.
- Send a message to the committee hearing both Ohio Trigger bans: Senate Bill 123 and House Bill 598, telling them that abortion bans are not about protecting people—but controlling them.
The fight right now is for an Ohio where abortion access does not depend on your zip code or income. It is up to us to push for bold solutions to ensure a future where reproductive freedom is a reality for all.
DONATE TO THE ACDP
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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