Home Campus ODP Chairman says Ohio has a big role in 2018 election

ODP Chairman says Ohio has a big role in 2018 election

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ODP Chairman David Pepper speaks to college democrats in August 2017.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper came to campus on the second day of classes to encourage involvement in politics, to denounce Trump and to express need for congressional redistricting.

Ohio’s Democratic Party Chairman is not a fan of President Trump.

“If you’re in Ohio and you’re a Democrat, you’re pretty disappointed that Trump won this state by eight points,” ODP Chairman David Pepper said. “It wasn’t one or two. It was eight. Eight too many. But that actually gives us a role in 2018. We’re known for being a swing state. We get all this attention every four years. But in 18 we have a different role.”

Pepper said since people don’t expect Ohio to be either blue or red, Ohio must go blue in the next election to send a message that what happened in 2016 was a mistake.

The chairman also quoted presidents from Jefferson to Reagan to rebuke Trump’s presidency.

And while Pepper talked at length about what he disliked about the president, he said making change was important at all levels of government.

“There is a moment now where frankly, getting involved is more important and it’s not because of one office or another office,” Pepper said. “It’s bigger than that.”

Pepper also talked about Democratic efforts to change congressional districts in Ohio because of what he and other democrats believe are gerrymandered districts.

“Gerrymandering is terrible for so many reasons. It makes everything more polarized,” Pepper said.”

He pointed to Rick Neal, a Democrat running for Republican Steve Stivers’ seat in Ohio’s 15th district, who was also at the gathering of college democrats.  

“Rick’s running against a guy who is running around the country raising money for fellow house members,” Pepper said. “Why is he doing that? Because he’s in a district that he thinks he can’t lose.”

Stivers is currently the chair of National Republican Congressional Committee, a committee responsible for helping to elect Republicans to the House of Representatives.

Pepper mentioned the Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio, a group collecting signatures to put an initiative on the 2018 ballot to change the way redistricting is done in the state. The initiative will need 300,000 signatures to appear on the ballot. It already has 100,000, Pepper noted.

Pepper said it was important to get individuals involved in progressive politics, even if they refuse to label themselves a member of the Democratic Party.

Ashley Fishwick, president of the Ohio University College Democrats, said the group already has plans to get students involved in politics.

“We’re doing weekly phone banks where we will have our members calling different senators, we will be registering voters –all that very important ground work,” Fishwick said. “We will be working on various local campaigns for city council — any way that we can lend hands. It’s our goal to turn it blue.”

Fishwick said the group would also be bringing representatives from gubernatorial campaigns to talk to students involved in OUCD about joining campaigns as interns or volunteers.

OUCD has not yet worked on getting signatures for the 2018 gerrymandering initative that Pepper talked about at the meeting, but Fishwick said that would be something they would be working on in the future.

Pepper called the Ohio U College Dems the best group of college democrats in the state. He later tweeted that his visit to campus was “energizing.”

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