Zoom screen

The theme of the salon was “The Impact of the 2022 Elections: Local, National and International.” It was available live on Zoom and Facebook Live.

Link to salon video

Mark Stansbery, Free Press Board member, started out the November salon by introducing Carolyn Harding. Carolyn had run for an Ohio Statehouse seat in this year’s primary and gave us some insight into what she was up against running against a Democrat Party-endorsed incumbent. She noted that she did not believe in pre-primary endorsing by a county party. She lost the primary election but remains on the Franklin County Democratic Party Central Committee, though she feels “blacklisted” by the Party regulars. They did not support her in her campaign, although her issues were very progressive: reproductive rights, Medicare for all, and anti-fracking. Carolyn continues to produce her weekly WGRN community radio show on 94.1 and, Grassroot Ohio, where she interviews activists and learns a lot about many issues. She wants to move forward from the campaign working on rank choice voting and a possible pro-choice statewide initiative. Many people present were interested in a statewide initiative in Ohio that protects women’s reproductive rights.

Next, Morgan Harper spoke about her impressions of the Ohio election results. She had run against Tim Ryan in the Democratic Party for Rob Portman’s open Senate seat. She also had not received support from the Democratic Party. She pointed out that Ryan raised $48 million but still couldn’t beat the Republican JD Vance. She felt his catering to Republican Trump voters was not the best strategy. She believes the most important issue going forward is to reach the thousands of independent, non-affiliated voters in the state. She wants to work on Joe Motil’s mayoral campaign in 2023 and with the local Working Families Party. She thinks progressive groups should have a coalition to hold a candidate forum before the primary election next year.

Morgan announced a meeting November 30 for people interested in discussing the possibilities for the 2023 election year.

Morgan also is working on a campaign to break up Ticketmaster.

Lynn Tramonte of the Ohio Immigrant Alliance spoke next, on how she is working for voting rights for new citizens, “Listening Sessions” for immigrant parents, and for immigrants from Cameroon, Haiti, Somalia and Mauritania to sign up for protective status. She told us the courts are not helping or supporting immigrants and we need our public officials to step up.

Nevin Siders had joined us from Mexico and mentioned the irony of how the country of Mexico is moving toward pro-choice while the United States is rapidly going the opposite direction.

Winie Wirth talked about how her husband, Gary Witte, had his court hearing on his camping out on Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin’s front lawn and is clear of the charges now. His courtroom statement is on the Free Press website.

The group’s conversation moved to our Columbus City Council which will be expanded with more members and presumably district-based seats, though it is not a real ward system. Current Councilperson Elizabeth Brown has left Council, so once again another seat opens up for the Council to appoint, rather than have the people elect.

There was conversation about the Ohio Supreme Court and the gerrymandering in the state. The Purcell Rule was brought up.

Steve Caruso wrote in the chat inviting people to get involved with Harvey Wasserman’s Grassroots Emergency Election Protection group.

Although Medea Benjamin of Code Pink was an expected speaker, she was not able to make it. The group discussed the situation in Ukraine.