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A daughter's plaintive cry

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published March 21, 2010

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J.J. Cafaro’s apology to his daughter, Capri, for the public embarrassment he has caused her didn’t impress anyone, least of all his flesh and blood.

Capri Cafaro, the Ohio Senate minority leader who represents the 32nd District in Trumbull County, issued a statement last week after her father’s violation of federal election law was revealed that spoke volumes.

“My father made mistakes and has taken responsibility for them. This is difficult for me because, while he is my father and I care about him, I do not condone his actions. This is a regrettable situation, which is, thankfully, coming to an end. I will continue to focus my time and energy on doing my job for the people as a member of the state senate. I am honored to work for the people of my district and approach my position with great seriousness and humility. I believe my constituents and my colleagues know me for my dedication to public service, integrity and transparency.”

There was no appeal for leniency. There was no insistence that her father is an honorable man who was simply doing what any loving father would do — try to buy a congressional seat for his daughter.

And, there was a plaintive cry to her dad to leave her the hell alone, as evidenced by the statement, “I believe my constituents and my colleagues know me for my dedication to public service, integrity and transparency.” In other words, Capri Cafaro wants people to know that she is her own woman — and politician.

That will be a tough sell because going all the way back to the criminal trial of former Congressman James A. Traficant Jr., she and her father have been tied at the hip. And when he pleaded guilty to bribing Traficant and committing perjury, she was tainted.

And now this.

Perhaps J.J. Cafaro, as he serves his prison sentence, will reflect on what he has done to his daughter’s reputation and will conclude that he has been her worst political enemy.

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