Over 100 people were in attendance for the Fayette County Democrats’ annual Obama Legacy Dinner at Our Place Restaurant in Washington C.H. on Sunday.
Hollie Hinton was one of the speakers present representing the Ohio Women Suffrage Centennial Commission.
As previously reported, Senate Bill 30 was signed into law to create this commission. The bill, co-sponsored by Senators Stephanie Kunze and Sandra Williams, passed the Ohio Senate and House unanimously and was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in April 2019. Through this year, the commission will oversee the statewide commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote.
Hinton was appointed director of the Ohio Governor’s Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach under former Governor Ted Strickland. Her efforts led to the passage of two executive orders, the establishment of the Ohio Interagency Council on Women and Girls, and culminated in a major statewide summit bringing together women from more than 60 Ohio counties.
During her speech, Hinton gave an overview of the history of the women’s suffrage movement which is believed to have been launched in 1848 with a women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was finally ratified allowing women the right to vote.
According to Hinton, although the number of women in leadership positions is still too low today in comparison of women in the overall population, 2018 was a good year for women. In 2018, the largest number of women were elected to the Ohio House of Representatives — 28 more than 25 percent for the first time ever with 19 Democrats and nine Republicans. Even then, that number pales in comparison to the 51 percent majority of women that make up the population “in the United States and across the world.”
Hinton encouraged women to go out and vote along with spreading the encouragement to vote to women in their lives, such as daughters, nieces, granddaughters, etc.
Hinton’s husband, Lou Gentile, spoke as representative for former Gov. Strickland as he, along with former First Lady of Ohio Frances Strickland, were planning to speak at the event but were unable to attend due to the flu.
Those in attendance at the dinner explained that was okay with them as they would rather not be exposed to the illness.
According to his online bio, Gentile is a former Ohio State Senator and served in the Senate until 2016. In January of 2014, his colleagues elected him to serve as assistant minority whip of the Senate. Prior to serving in the legislature, Gentile worked in the Governor’s Office of Appalachia during which he managed a $10 million grant program focused on investing in infrastructure, workforce development and job creation programs in the region. He was recognized by the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) for his advocacy of public education.
Gentile explained that Gov. Strickland “still, to this day, remains very committed to the Democratic party, to helping candidates from the White House to the Court House.”
According to Gentile, he and Gov. Strickland support Joe Biden in the Democratic primary presidential race but “no matter who you’re supporting whether it be Biden or any of the other quality candidates, it is imperative that after this primary election is over that we come together as Democrats and unite.”
Among other topics, Gentile spoke of how Ohio is still a swing state as the residents voted for Barack Obama as president in 2008 and 2012 along with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018. In order to continue being competitive though, he reiterated that Democrats, including those in Fayette County, must continue to do their part.
“Don’t think it’s beyond your control to have an impact in this race,” he said. “We’re counting on you to help on the ground, get the word out, get the vote out for Democrats.”
Beth Workman, the Democratic candidate for Ohio’s 92nd House of Representatives seat, was planned as a speaker for the dinner but was also unable to attend due to the flu.
As previously reported, Workman is from Chillicothe and is running against the winner of the Republican primary due to Rep. Gary Scherer being term limited. According to her bio, she has used her voice to advocate for educational funding issues and local initiatives in her community since November of 2018. She hopes to build upon the Cupp-Patterson plan for educational funding, end high-stakes testing, reform the grading of a school district on the state report card, and continue fighting for the dignity of work and working class Ohioans.
According to Judy Craig, the Fayette County Democratic Party executive committee chairperson, the event went well and even though the Stricklands were unable to attend, both Gentile and Hinton were great speakers and took their time going around the crowd to introduce themselves.
“I’d like to thank everybody for coming out,” said Craig.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.