A letter to our activist community

We have had quite a year or so, in northeast Ohio’s progressive activism community. Marches, die-ins, postcard-writing, collecting signatures, etc.…

We never run out of stuff to do.

On just about any national issue there are demonstrations to be part of, calls to congress and Senator Portman. Our state government is usually busy with plenty of bad ideas, also, which would be just about overwhelming. Except in Lakewood and western Cleveland, we have Nickie Antonio and Mike Skindell.

On every call for activism over a state issue, Antonio and Skindell are always leading the way, without even being asked. Even by the standard of Democrats in the legislature, these two are like an Indivisible Caucus.

Defending Medicaid expansion? Behind it 100%.

Gerrymandering? Both support reform, and I was present in person when Skindell shredded the initial worse-than-we-have-now draft of SJR 5.

Abortion bans? They are stalwart advocates of women’s right to choose, both endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio & NARAL Ohio.

LGBTQ equality? Antonio has led the years-long effort to build support for the Fairness Act, with Skindell’s active partnership.

Labor? There are few more dependable allies, or more dependable opponents of “right to work.”

Renewable energy? Both support restoring Ohio’s renewable energy portfolio standards; Skindell helped originally introduce them, and has also introduced legislation to reduce the setback requirements which have frozen wind energy development.

Gun safety? Antonio and Skindell don’t just have “F” ratings from the Buckeye Firearms Association, they earn them, by working every year to put safety ahead of gun industry sales figures.

Every now and then I call with a message that I support what they’re doing, just for a change of pace as much as anything. But I know that they will do the right thing, with or without being thanked, let alone pushed.

To me, this is true success for activists. Not necessarily to make activism unnecessary, but to make activists into legislators.

In Nickie Antonio and Mike Skindell, we have two such legislators right now. I want to keep them both on the front lines, which is the biggest reason I’m supporting them in this spring’s primary.

I hope many of my friends in the local activist community will do so as well on May 8.

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