Ohio Democratic Party Elects First Woman Chair

On January 14, Liz Walters was elected as the new Chairperson of the Ohio Democratic Party.   The selection is critical given the amount of work needed to increase Democratic presence in Ohio and make races winnable again.

Ms. Walters is a councilwoman in Summit County and is the current Vice President of the Council.  She is also Chair of the Personnel Committee and Vice Chair of the Planning and Economic Development Committee.

Outside of Council, Walters has worked with people and organizations that support progressive values, including the Obama-Biden campaign, Congresswoman Betty Sutton, We Are Ohio, and the Ohio Democratic Party.

Ms. Walters believes the three biggest challenges for Ohio Democrats are rebuilding our infrastructure; building a meaningful communications shop to hold Republicans accountable for their failed policies and corruption; and to be more competitive in elections at the local level, including fighting redistricting.

She also values the distinctions of county parties and understands that each county party is different, with different levels of leadership, membership and engagement and plans on building each county individually.

In an effort to build a diverse team to help her, Walters is committed to hiring a Black executive director.     Currently, Malik Hubbard is serving as her interim Executive Director.   Hubbard, a Cleveland native, has worked with the organization Inclusive, whose mission is to ensure staff of color are found in every level of the political sector.

Asked to address the political losses over the past 10 years, Walters responded:

“We have so much talent in the state legislature, in the cities. We have great members of Congress. We have great members at the county level.

I think the trick is that we’ve got to focus, as a party, on building an organization they can rely on. That starts with organizing and it starts with communicating. That has to be the core of our focus. That’s how we get our best and brightest to run.

The other part of that is really lifting them up and helping to share the stories of the great work they’re doing. Throughout different levels of government, there are good stories to tell, and that’s something we have to do moving forward.”

Mark N. Hardig, ODP Executive Committee Member, representing Butler County responded to Walters’ win by saying, “As the first elected female chair, Ms. Walters is dedicated to the promotion of racial and gender equality throughout Ohio.  Chairperson Walters pledges to reach out to all Ohioans, including those in rural communities like Butler County, whom the party has not adequately addressed in prior election cycles.  Ms. Walters also promises to promote massive voter registration efforts to bring more voters to the polls, particularly those in support of Democratic candidates.  Chairperson Walters has my utmost confidence and support.  I am very pleased with this selection.”

Walters carried into the election heavy endorsements from Sherrod Brown, Joe Rugola (OAPSE), Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty and President Thomas West from the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.

In addition to Walters, the Party’s Executive Committee also elected Andre Washington to the First Vice Chair position.   The rules of the Democratic National Committee require the First Vice Chair to be the opposite gender from the Chair.   Washington is a Field Representative/Special Projects Coordinator for the Ohio Association of Public School Employees/AFSCME Local 4 and serves as the President of the Ohio Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

The Butler County Democrats welcome Liz Walters to her new role and we are enthusiastically looking forward to working with her.