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Columbus in Her Blood

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.
The Truth Contributor

Employment is the big issue the government needs to be dealing with.

                        -  Della Simmons 


Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

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

Perryman: Please tell me a little bit of your history of service to the community?

Fedor:  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.

Perryman:  If you had to crystallize your message into a short one or two sentence statement, how would you state it? 

Fedor:  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. 

Perryman: So tell us about your history.  How long have you served at the state level?  Have you served at the city or county level?

Fedor:  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.

Perryman: When was that?

Fedor:  That was 2000.

Perryman: 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 thoughts?

Fedor:  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.

Perryman:  Do you have any tangible solutions to keep Polly Fox open?

Fedor:  Tangible solutions?

Perryman: Yes, or recommendations?

Fedor:  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 problems. 

Perryman: What are your thoughts on Planned Parenthood and where do you stand as far as prochoice/prolife?

Fedor:  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 community. 

Perryman: Alright. Have you done anything to help minority business enterprises or MBEs?

Fedor:  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.

Perryman: Can you provide any specifics of your support?

Fedor:  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. 

Perryman: 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?

Fedor:  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. 

Perryman: Have you taken the lead or sponsored any bills related to minorities, including business or even the racial divide that I just spoke of?

Fedor: 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. 

Perryman:  Where do you stand on the regional water issue?

Fedor: 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. 

Perryman: 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.

Fedor:  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. 

Perryman: Okay.  Thank you very much.

Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at drdlperryman@centerofhopebaptist.org

Copyright © 2018 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/16/18 14:12:11 -0700.



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