Cleveland legislator decries lack of political leadership

Staff report


State Sen. Nina Turner of Cleveland, who plans to run for Ohio Secretary of State in 2014, gave the keynote address Friday at the NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet.

Turner, D-25th, said a quote from W.E.B. DuBois, one of the founders of the NAACP, serves as a guidepost for activism in today’s world: “Now is the accepted time.”

In the 100 years since the NAACP was founded, there has been progress in civil rights, “but it seems we’re going backwards,” she said, citing a lack of leadership, especially at the state and national levels, as the reason why.

An example is Ohio’s failure to expand Medicaid to help poor Ohioans get health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Another is the recent shutdown of the federal government.

Recently five American military veterans could not get their death benefits because of the shutdown, she said.

“Now is the time for all of us to stand up for justice and equality,” she said.

Turner, who has been a state senator four years and served on Cleveland City Council two years before that, represents part of Cuyahoga County and part of Lake County. She spoke at the Mahoning Country Club.

Steven E. Mickel, president of the NAACP Youngstown Branch, said the group chose “We Shall Not Be Moved” for this year’s theme because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this summer eliminating a portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required certain states to submit proposed changes to their voting laws to the federal government for approval in advance.

“We will move forward to get that back in to make sure we are not disenfranchised,” he said.

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