Today we're endorsing a proven and effective champion of the working class and of all people who are oppressed and in need of Justice, the great Nina Turner. And when have you ever heard me use the word "great" to describe a candidate we're endorsing? Nina really is. You want to see a more functional progressive movement inside Congress? I'm counting on Nina.
This Blue America 2022 congressional thermometer is how you can contribute to her campaign. Just tap on it; it's a hot link. Ohio's 11th congressional district is extremely gerrymandered and misshapen-- a D+30 district that was drawn by the Republican legislature to scoop up as many likely Democratic voters in the region as possible, making OH-14, OH-16 and OH-07 safe for Republicans. Trump lost 4 districts in Ohio but lost OH-11 in a landslide-- 19.2%. Believe me, the Democratic primary is determinative-- and there are 10 candidates, 5 of whom are considered serious. Nina-- who has been endorsed by Bernie, AOC, Rashida, Katie Porter, Ilhan, Mondaire, Ro Khanna, Jamaal, Cori Bush, Pramila-- is a former Cleveland City Councilor, a former state senator and the minority leader of the state Senate. I don't know who's going to be the best member of Congress in the 2023 cycle but I would bet that Nina Turner will be a contender. Now... look at this gerrymandered district:
Progressives Must Make a Demand
-by Nina Turner
For all the reality TV shows depicting people doing well, many across the nation are hurting. Across the country, nearly 44 million people live in poverty. In Cleveland, where I live and where I am seeking elected office, 114,000 people live in poverty. In Akron, Ohio, 1 in 4 people live in poverty. Throughout the state, roughly 13.1% of Ohioans live in poverty. The poorest town in Ohio is Cleveland, and it is also the fastest-shrinking city in the country.
For every person doing well, there are scores more suffering. Even when one excludes for poverty, there are other issues complicating life for far too many individuals and families. One such issue is mass incarceration.
No other country in the world jails people the way that the United States does. Most disheartening, this nation pats itself on the back for ending slavery even though there is a through line between slavery and mass incarceration. Today, more Black men are incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons than before the Civil War. And this issue by no means only impacts men. Women are among the fastest-growing population in prison. And even upon release, they face legal discrimination, and a nation that looks at them like second-class citizens.
Elected leaders like to talk about America being a nation that favors second chances. Nothing could be further from the truth. People with criminal records can and do face legal discrimination in virtually every category of life. From housing to education to health care to public assistance and employment, American society is set up to penalize persons with criminal records.
This is not pretty. But this is what the people in my community, in your community and in our communities face. I am running for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District because I believe poverty and injustice are not matters of chance but rather intentional choices. Progressives must map a vision and then fight like hell to achieve it.
In fact, the job of the progressive movement is to see the hurt, survey the pain and paint a vision of what is possible. It is to note the progress while continually pushing for that which will truly transform and change lives. We need this now more than ever.
This is critical, because victories are not necessarily eternal. Some must be defended. Consider the perpetual fight to clear pathways to the ballot box. Since the suffrage movement, civil rights leaders and allies have been fighting to ensure elections are free, fair and acceptable. This fight continues.
Most of us concur with Frederick Douglass’ assertion that “power concedes nothing without demand. It never has. It never will.” For change to happen, there must be a demand.
Progressives have made a demand-- for universal health care, for affordable college, for access to safe and affordable housing, for education equity, for an end to poverty and for an end to mass incarceration. I too am making a demand.
For those of you who do not know me, I am neither a hero nor a villain. I am a humanitarian. I am a fighter for change. I am someone willing to acknowledge what is here while asking for what is still needed. I am a public servant whose job is to equally encourage and exhort.
My decision to seek elected office is compelled by my desire to make change. There are those comfortable with the status quo. I am not among them. Having grown up in poverty, I can never forget what it was like to watch my mother crying all night because she couldn’t give her children what they needed. I will never forget what it was like watching my mother die young-- at 42 years old-- due to a lack of health insurance. It is impossible to experience this sort of devastation and not be compelled to fight to ensure others don’t suffer in this way.
I am running for Congress because I care deeply about the suffering facing the American people. With stagnant wages, unaffordable housing, high-cost college and lack of affordable health insurance, the system is crushing everyday people. This is by default. It is intentional. So too must be our resolve for change.
The progressive movement, in particular, must commit itself to funding the movement and fighting for the movement. Politics is life or death. What our elected leaders do can mean the difference between life and death.
My goal is to paint a vision of a different kind of America and then invite others to come with me. This vision includes just policies that address the root causes of poverty, inaccessible health insurance, mass incarceration, gun violence and education inequities. I am asking you to invest in this vision and invest in me.
In the end, we will assess progress by whether fewer people live in poverty; by whether more people have access to good jobs that allow them to comfortably care for themselves and their families; and by whether more people have access to healthcare. Change cannot be measured in a moment. There is much work for all of us to do and we remain focused on the ultimate goal of improving life for a nation that is hurting.
Meeting the challenges of the 21st century will require us to be more than just ambitious-- we must be transformative. We need elected officials who understand that they are accountable to the people, not to special interests and not to each other. I am who I believe my community, our collective community needs. I am asking you to invest in me and invest in us. Fund what matters.
Nina Turner is a former State Senator for Ohio’s 25th district after which she served as the Co-Chair of Engagement at the Ohio Democratic Party and focused on building Party infrastructure and support for Democrats across the state. Nina Turner is nationally known for her work championing progressive values such as a $15 an hour living wage, Medicare for All and expanded public education from Pre-Kindergarten to College during the Bernie Sanders Presidential campaigns of 2016 and 2020. Election date is August 3, 2021. Learn more about Nina Turner at www.ninaturner.com.