Ward 3 Democratic Club holds November meeting at Tremont Pointe
by Bruce Checefsky
(Plain Press, December 2019) Joseph Rider, Ward 3 Democratic Club President, was at the Cleveland Democratic Club meeting held at Tremont Pointe on November 19, 2019. Patrick Mahoney, Chairperson of Prescient I, was there. Political candidates Joy Kennedy for Domestic Relations Court and Lisa Forbes for Judge, 8th District Court of Appeals, were there, too. But no one else showed up on the cold rainy night. Rider wasn’t discouraged.
“I’m here to promote the Democratic Party agenda,” he said to the near empty room. “I’m doing everything I can do to get the word out. I’m hoping to add more information on Facebook and other social media platforms.”
Rider was selected by Councilman Kerry McCormack to represent Ward 3 in September 2018 after serving on the Central Committee. Mahoney became chairperson of the downtown area known as Prescient I in May 2018, although he’s been a volunteer for many years including working on Councilman McCormack’s election campaign in 2017.
The Cuyahoga County Democratic Party consists of precinct committee members elected in the primaries by the registered Democrats of each precinct in the county. Committee members make up the County Central Committee, who in turn elected the party Chair and 400 of the 750-member Executive Committee; the remaining 350 members of the Executive Committee are appointed by the Chair. The Executive Committee is the decision-making body of the party and formally meets twice a year to conduct official business, according to information published on their website.
The Executive Committee will meet on December 19th to endorse candidates for the March 2020 primary elections.
“This town is all about its politicians,” said Rider. “We have a population that is 1/3 the size of some other cities but we have more council-people in Cleveland than San Diego with a population of more than 1.5 million.”
There are 17 council members representing the 17 wards of the City of Cleveland. Each ward has approximately 25,000 people. Philadelphia consists of ten members elected by district and seven members elected at-large for a population of 1.52 million; Houston has 11 elected from council districts and five at-large for a 2.1 million population.
“I love Cleveland,” said Mahoney. “I’m all about Cleveland development. I think the best Cleveland is where everyone does well. I see politics as a way to get to that. Whatever I can do, perhaps it’s voter turnout, which we’ve done in the past with no political affiliation, to promote Cleveland and efforts that benefit the entire city.”
Lisa Forbes, a business litigator and partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, is running for Judge 8th District Court of Appeals currently held by Judge Raymond C. Headen, an appointment of former Gov. John Kasich. Forbes received her J.D. summa cum laude from Case Western Reserve University School of Law where she was a member of the Order of the Coif and the executive notes editor of the Case Western Reserve Law Review. She received her B.S. from Cornell University. With 27 years of experience practicing law in Cuyahoga County, Forbes believes the Court of Appeals is the last stop for justice. Fairness and justice require a lot more than understanding the law, according to her.
“I understand the law, but I also have the empathy and compassion born of years and years of active involvement in our community to guide me to just and fair decisions,” said Forbes. “I volunteer election after election to make sure people can vote through voter protection programs. We all need to pay attention to the issue. It’s not a partisan issue, it’s a right to vote issue.”
“I have the experience in the community and courts to make the right decision,” she added.
Cuyahoga County Eighth Appellate District is the largest and one of the busiest appellate courts in Ohio. Randomly assigned, its twelve judges sit on three-judge panels. Weekly, nine or more cases are allocated to each panel for review. Each judge reads the briefs filed by the parties, reviews the lower court record, and with the aid of legal staff, conducts research on the issues presented. Judge 8th District Court of Appeals is a six-year term beginning January 2021.
Joy Kennedy is a public defender for Cuyahoga County and candidate for Judge Domestic Relations Court vacated by Judge Rosemary Grdina Gold. A life-long Democrat, Kennedy served on the Democratic Party Executive Committee and served on many campaigns. With over 25-years of experience as a social worker working with families and children, she provided individual and group counseling with individuals from infant to the elderly. Kennedy received her J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University. She also holds a Master of Social Work and Bachelor of Social Work.
“I worked in Washington DC with the juvenile teenagers. When they ran away, I had to get them. When they were in crisis, I had to help them with their issues of reunification with their families. I had to go to the court with them and provide a report to the attorney at the time. The judges didn’t really care what I had to say (as a social worker). They wanted to hear from the lawyer. I felt that if I went back to school and became a lawyer, the judge would listen to me.”
The Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court, established in 1920 as the Domestic Relations Bureau, is a subdivision of the Court of Common Pleas. It has full equitable power and jurisdiction over all domestic-relations matters, including authority to terminate marriages, divide property, and determine child custody and support payments.
The mission of the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court is to help families restructure their lives by reaching compassionate and just resolutions to parenting and property disputes, according to the Cuyahoga County website. Domestic Relations Court Judge serves a term of 6-years.
Democratic primaries will take place in Ohio on March 17, 2020. Voters may cast their ballot in person at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections leading up to Election Day. Voters may also request to vote by mail. Early In-Person Voting takes place at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, located at 2925 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.
According to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Voter Control Report as of 11/4/2019 there are 226,984 registered Democrats with 131,618 registered Republicans, 490,733 unaffiliated and 69 Liberals. In 2016, Cuyahoga County Democrats supported Hillary Clinton with 383,974 votes or nearly twice that of Republican Donald Trump at 179,894 votes. Donald Trump went on to win Ohio with 51.7 percent of the vote. Hillary Clinton received 43.6 percent. Ohio is a good microcosm of the country as a whole and a key presidential prize. A Republican president is never elected without carrying Ohio. Two Democrats were elected without it.
“The courts need someone with compassion, someone that works hard and brings a diverse background with them,” said Kennedy before leaving to attend another community meeting. “If you’ve never worked with people directly, you won’t know what they’re going through. I’ve sat next to individuals charged with the worst offenses imaginable … I’ve done that.”
“Success in the courts looks like well-reasoned decisions that offer guidance, that’s legally sound, not only to the parties but also to the broader community at large,” Forbes commented when asked what success in the courts looks like. “Apply the law to the facts.”
“With sound reasoning,” added Kennedy.
The next Ward 3 Democratic Club meeting is scheduled for January 2020.