By: Alex Hale ~Staff Writer~
Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning hurt for a lot of Democrats and progressively minded people. However, locally there was still a ton of good that happened for progressive voices. Rep. Denise Driehaus has been a leading Democratic voice in the Ohio State House. She has worked across the aisle with many Republicans to pass important legislation, like the recent Good Samaritan bill, which allows heroin addicts who are with someone who has overdosed to call the police without fear of arrest. She is term-limited in the state house, however, and because she wants to continue serving our communities, she decided to run against Dennis Deters for Hamilton County Commissioner. Deters, the incumbent, worked on a very obstructive commission that refused to work with the City of Cincinnati on important issues. This race was labeled a high stakes race, with both sides spending a lot of money on it. However, at the end of the day, Driehaus pulled through to win the seat narrowly. She will do wonders for our county by working closely with the City of Cincinnati and by working to lower sewer rates, which have been rising due to the previous commission kicking the can down the road.
Another great victory for local Democrats came as a major surprise. A young upstart candidate with a funny name and a lot of passion would take on one of the most well-known names in Cincinnati politics. Aftab Pureval, an attorney for P&G, decided to run for Hamilton County Clerk of Courts against incumbent Tracy Winkler. Winkler did not campaign much for her seat because she thought that she would win easily. She also hasn’t done anything for the office since she first received the job, and the office is still using technology from the computer stone age. This ultimately costs the county more money and wastes people’s time. Pureval had an uphill battle, though, because he has an unusual name. His campaign decided to release an ad with a duck that imitates the Aflac duck, only the duck said “Aftab” instead. His name recognition skyrocketed, and people genuinely enjoyed his ads with the duck. Thanks to this strategy, he went on to win a race that many didn’t think he could. He will make the courts more efficient by using new technology in the office, getting back to people sooner and establishing a full time housing court in order to crack down on slumlords. Aftab is young and energetic. He will make a fantastic clerk of courts.
Not all victories were in the county, though. Since Driehaus is now a Hamilton County Commissioner-elect, her seat in the State House is vacant. Thankfully, Driehaus is also one of the kindest people I have ever met and had the pleasure of working with. Brigid Kelly is a young passionate and incredibly hard working woman who has always fought for the little guy. She easily won Driehaus’ seat, earning around 67 percent of the vote last Tuesday. I personally worked with her for the past couple of months, and I am beyond happy that such a great person could win elected office.
Even on the issues portion of the ballot, Cincinnati won. Voters decided to opt in to a tax levy called Issue 44, which will give every 3- and 4-year-old in Cincinnati quality preschool as well as give Cincinnati Public Schools much needed funding. It will only be around $300 for a household worth $10,000 or less per year. This very well could save Cincinnati Public Schools and give hope to a new generation of young people who will be moving through the school system with more potential than ever before.
After getting to know each of these campaigns in various ways, I am incredibly optimistic about our local future. Above all other things, these candidates that I have just mentioned are all good people in a profession that is known to be corrupt. We need these positive role models now more than ever. They ran for these offices because they wanted genuinely to make our communities better. For that I am very grateful. So although Hillary Clinton lost, there is still a lot of hope in local politics.