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New Directions

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor

Where do we go from here?
                   -  Martin Luther King, Jr.


Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

No Republican has ever won the U.S. presidential election without carrying Ohio. In 2016 President Trump continued that trend by handily defeating Hillary Clinton in the state by a whopping eight percentage points.  However, if local Democratic Party leadership can win over suburban voters, a demographic historically loyal to Republicans, the Dems can reclaim Ohio in the 2020 general election.  

I caught up with attorney Keith L. Mitchell, who is bidding to become chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party. In this article we discuss his candidacy, thoughts on taking the Dems in a new direction, and how to make Ohio relevant again in state and national politics.

Perryman: Letís chat about your candidacy for the chairmanship of the Lucas County Democratic Party.

Mitchell:  Well, sure. We have between six and 15 days after the certification of the primary election to have this reorganization meeting. So, weíll see what happens.

Perryman: What is the state of the Lucas County Democratic Party as it exists now?

Mitchell:  Weíre in transition.  Unfortunately, weíre in a transition during a national election, but here we are.  Kurt Young was doing a decent job but decided not to run again, so Iím running.

Perryman: What is your assessment of the Partyís effectiveness, culture, goals, and stance on the issues?

Mitchell: I have five primary goals.  First, to elect Democrats. The purpose of a Democratic Party is to elect Democrats and so, certainly, we need to energize the Party in Lucas County.  Lucas County is vital to Ohio and Ohio is essential to the United States, and so, we need to do our part to make sure that we come out and vote for Joe Biden and all the people down the ticket.

 Secondly, we need to energize the Central Committee, the precinct committee people. We need to give them the tools and training and get them to be very active.  The Party has not done a good job of that in the past. People need to go door to door in their precinct to let voters know which Democrats are running and encourage people to come out and vote.  So, itís imperative, first of all, to encourage Democrats to come out, secondly to help people if they are not registered to vote to get them registered and to motivate them to vote in the future.  So, not just around election time, but all year long. 

Perryman: And third?

Mitchell: Third, I want to get young people involved.  We need to get young people in leadership positions because itís time to pass the baton.  I have gray hair, Iím old, and this is not my dream job, so we need to get young people involved in the Party and decision-making positions and let them take over. 

Fourth, I want to make sure that we start or better utilize data-driven strategies.  We need to use Facebook and other social media platforms more effectively. Young folks donít watch regular television, so TV ads donít make a difference in terms of voting.  They donít read the newspaper like people used to, so ads in the press donít make sense for elections, and so we have to use social media a lot better, and certainly, I hope to do that. 

And then lastly, we need to find a Party home.  We need to purchase an office building that suits our needs.  Itís my understanding that ProMedica wants to buy our building to tear it down so that they can build apartment buildings.  Those are the five areas that I want to focus on and I think Iím the best person for the job.

Perryman: The goals are laudable, but how do you effectuate the goals and get them accomplished? 

Mitchell:  By getting people involved and holding them accountable.  In the past we have not done a good job of encouraging people and making sure that precinct people do their jobs, so we need to make sure that happens.  We also need to broaden the base of our financial support.  We have depended on the unions a lot and we certainly still want to depend on unions, but we want to broaden the base so that everybodyís contributing.  Precinct people, executive committee members, clubs and organizations, elected officials, all folks need to donate to the Party so that we can help get Democrats elected.  So, I think itís a matter of motivating people, getting them engaged and energized.  Again, I think we can do that behind Joe Biden.  And, I would venture to say, all Democrats want to get Donald Trump out so I think we can get people energized to do that. 

Perryman: What are your qualifications to become chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party?

Mitchell:  Iíve been active with the Party for many years.  I worked on Senator Howard Metzenbaumís campaign in the late Ď80s, so Iíve been involved in local politics for a long time. Iím currently the parliamentarian and, therefore, chair of the bylaws committee. I have sat on the screening committee and chaired the judicial screening committee, so Iíve been active in many of the Partyís committees.  Iíve also been a precinct committee person for eight years now, so Iíve been active in the Party, and know the inner workings and know what needs to be done to get people out to vote. 

Perryman: How about fundraising experience?

Mitchell:  Iíve participated in several different campaigns.  Iím currently the finance chair for Judge Myron Duhartís campaign. So Iíve certainly had experience raising money with different political contests. The Party has various fundraisers, and Iíve attended them, but I have not organized those for the Party. 

Perryman: So, why Keith Mitchell and not Mike Ashford for Party Chair?

Mitchell:  I have the temperament to bring people together.  The first question Iím going to ask before making any decision is Ďwhatís in the best interest of the Party?í.  Every decision you make will upset some people, but I will be able to articulate the decision and why particular decisions are being made a certain way.  Iím not in this to make friends; Iím in it to move the Party forward.  I think Iím in a better position than Mr. Ashford to bring people together.  Iím not divisive. I believe that I can do that better than he can.

Perryman: Do you have any endorsements so far?

Mitchell:  No, I have not been asking for endorsements, Iíve been calling people on the Central Committee, those people that vote, and asking for their support and thatís been very positive so far, Iím continuing to do that. 

Perryman: Is there anything you would like to add?

Mitchell: Iíve been practicing law for 32 years here in Toledo, but again, Iíve been active with the Party, and I think that is important for this particular position that Iím seeking.  You donít have to be an attorney, obviously, but that gives me the flexibility to do what I need to do.  Being Party chair is not a paid position; you have to meet at all times during the day, the week, evenings, and on weekends. My practice allows me the flexibility to do that. 

And again, I think Iím best qualified for the position.  Iím hoping the people on the central committee will vote for me because we need to get Democrats elected, and the Party needs to become galvanized and energized so that we can move forward. 

Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at drdlperryman@centerofhopebaptist.org



Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05/22/20 00:54:27 -0400.



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