Perhaps the most
consequential local 2018 electoral race will be the
fiercely-contested May 8 primary battle for Ohio Senate
District 11 between Michael Ashford, the endorsed Democratic
Party candidate and his challenger, the long-term Ohio
legislator, Teresa Fedor.
The word on the street is
that, for some unknown reason, the Party hasnít shown
Ashford ďthe loveĒ typically expressed for an endorsed
Democratic candidate, particularly from the black community,
given his reputation for bringing State funding back to
Toledo and the areaís African-American community.
I was able to track Fedor
down for a straightforward one on one talk about her
candidacy. The legislator, who has served continuously for
the past 18 years, is determined to return to Columbus
despite the lack of her Partyís endorsement. She appears to
ďhave Columbus in her blood.Ē
Please tell me a little bit of your history of service to
Sure. Iíd like to start out talking about what I think is a
basic question and that is my reason for running, which is
always the most important question I think of someone who is
going into politics and wants to represent people. As an
Ohio legislator and also former chair of the Ohio House
Democratic Womenís Caucus, Iíve partnered with my colleagues
over the years to fight back to provide a better future for
Ohioans every step of the way. I have insisted on better
education funding, more accountability for charter schools
and for increased funding for infant mortality. We,
unfortunately, have a very disturbing ranking in the United
States and I do believe if we focus on whatís going to work
we can get that ranking to improve. And weíve advanced the
cause of paid sick and family leave, which is so important
in todayís life, where everybodyís working but we still have
to maintain a quality of life, and I think paid sick and
family leave is so important for that and for families to
stay strong. I also stood up for civil rights, voting
rights, womenís rights and equal pay for women and so Iím so
grateful to continue to build on these successes, and thatís
why I am running for the State Senate.
If you had to crystallize your message into a short one or
two sentence statement, how would you state it?
Well protecting our most vulnerable young Ohioans has been a
driving force for me, and I have a record of introducing
legislation, curtailing the growing problem with cyber
bullying and schools, honoring the literacy and educational
attainment among children of Hispanic heritage, creating
physical and health education standards in Ohio schools,
background checks for volunteer coaches. The list goes on
as far as putting in initiatives to help protect and ensure
that Ohioans are safe.
So tell us about your history. How long have you served at
the state level? Have you served at the city or county
I was in the classroom of Toledo Public Schools, so I
essentially went from the schoolhouse to the state house and
had never run before. Knocked on 10,000 doors and under
Jack Ford as a minority leader, I beat an incumbent. I had
never been to the state house until I got sworn in and so it
has been an amazing journey.
When was that?
That was 2000.
Well, letís drill down a little bit deeper on the message
ďFrom the Schoolhouse to the State House. Polly Fox Academy
- you talked about your work for the most vulnerable. It
appears that Polly Fox may be closing. What are your
Polly Fox is very special to me, because shortly after I
became a legislator I went and visited, and lo and behold I
fell into a former student that I just loved and cared for
so much, and so reuniting with her was fantastic. I know she
had challenges, but she is an incredible individual and
thatís what I want people to understand. People have
challenges, children have challenges and we must do
everything to keep that solid ground for their feet to land
on, and I believe itís the communityís obligation to do
everything possible to help our children stay on the right
path. And so thatís the least that we can do is to keep
Polly Fox open and Iím totally in support of this and have
been talking with them and throughout the years have helped
them, so Polly Fox is very important to me and I believe to
the community as well. I also believe once we stand
together, stay focused and everyone does their part,
problems will have a solution and that is a perfect example
of how we can pull together to keep that school going.
Do you have any tangible solutions to keep Polly Fox open?
Yes, or recommendations?
Yes, recommendations. I believe the tangible solutions to
keep Polly Fox open is to have, number one, a community
discussion where everyone comes to the table and we look at
whatís happening. We just donít leave it up to the people
who are officially in charge, but we have active community
involvement and discussions and define why this is
important. Why is this school important to stay open? And
that we must pull together and do what we can, so I donít
have specifics, but I do believe in that process of building
onto issues like that. Theyíre the building blocks to solve
What are your thoughts on Planned Parenthood and where do
you stand as far as prochoice/prolife?
Well, I stand up for womenís rights and reproductive
rights. I also believe that Planned Parenthood provides so
many services for women. The examinations, appointments,
access to healthcare and they are a vital element for our
Alright. Have you done anything to help minority business
enterprises or MBEs?
I have supported bills that increase MBEs in all of our
communities. I believe that itís absolutely critical that we
promote minority businesses and being involved in our
community, because they are our community.
Can you provide any specifics of your support?
There have been bills in the past, I donít have the bill
numbers, throughout my time where we have had votes on the
floor, also amendments attached to bills. Weíve had to
fight on the house floor to get amendments passed and many
times they have not been passed, they have been rejected.
That issue has been brought in through bills that go through
revisions, go to another chamber, bills that are going
through conference committee and there have been some
improvements, especially under Governor Strickland.
There is a sharp racial divide between people of color and
whites and even a class divide within the whites, by income
and education. For instance, even here in Toledo we recently
had an incident with a swastika and a racial slur drawn on a
notepad left in a city vehicle. How do we address these
struggles and what have you done as far as eliminating or
reducing this racial and class divide?
I support measures that allow our budgets to address
communities to make sure that there are good jobs,
education, healthcare, retirement security, and that, there
must be an effort at all times to ensure that people are
treated fairly, that human rights are upheld and whatever
other measures are necessary. That is, for example, having
sensitivity training, diversity training, passing
resolutions, just like the sexual harassment bill that I
co-sponsored. I believe that we also should require
mandatory training for state employees. So, I have supported
many measures along the way where itís inserted. I
absolutely believe it needs to be addressed immediately. It
also takes a community pulling together and standing
together and saying that this is not going to be tolerated.
Have you taken the lead or sponsored any bills related to
minorities, including business or even the racial divide
that I just spoke of?
I donít have a list on hand, I apologize for that, but I
stand with people who fight for human rights, protect human
rights, protect individual rights to be treated fairly and
upstanding citizens of this community.
Where do you stand on the regional water issue?
Well, itís going through a process of community
conversations and what Iíve heard about the water issue is
that we want to make sure that Toledo has a level playing
field, and right now the way that itís proposed, Toledo
representation is not where it should be.
Finally, you are running against the endorsed Democrat,
Michael Ashford, who has a well-known and recognizable name
in the African-American community. Why should our readers
decide to vote for you rather than for your opponent? I
would just like to hear it from you.
Well, as someone who has voted for millions of dollars, even
billions of dollars in budgets to ensure that we bring our
fair share back to Toledo and fight for that, Michael and I
stand together. There hasnít been any difference in that
matter. I also want to state that Iíve come to understand
that one vote impacts 11 million people statewide and I know
today that I found my voice in politics, that I have a
passion to lead and I have done so, and have been successful
at it. It is a passion thatís allowed me to inspire and
empower people to work together to get things done and
thatís what I do. I build bridges. I understand that
partnerships and collaboration are so important to get
things done. The people that I serve and our accomplishments
together are a driving force in my winning this election.
Okay. Thank you very much.
Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at