Eastern Lake County Coffee Contacts and Discussion on the 2018 Elections

Coffee Contacts

On Wednesday, December 12th, we got up early and drove to Geneva where we attended an Eastern Lake County Coffee Contacts that took place at The Lakehouse Inn and Winery on Lake Road East. While we were there, we met and visited with Ms. Marcy Brennan, whose son, Mr. Michael Dylan Brennan, is the mayor of University Heights. We told Ms. Brennan, who now works for LimeLife by Alcone, which is a respected skin care company, how much we enjoyed visiting with Mayor Brennan last year at a reception in Cleveland Heights.

We then introduced ourselves to Mr. Ben Frech of First Energy who is working on a project to keep the Perry and the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plants from closing. It turned out that his brother-in-law, Mr. Paul Isherwood works with Ms. Margaret W. Wong on some educational projects. 

Lastly, we said hello to Mr. David Thomas who recently won an election to be the next Auditor of Ashtabula County. We have known Mr. Thomas for years starting from when he was an administrator at Grand River Academy in Austinburg. Even though he will not start his new position until March, 2019, Mr. Thomas is now working closely with the current Auditor to learn the fine points of the job.

This particular Coffee Contacts was the last one scheduled for 2018, but, for sure, more will take place after the start of 2019. The new name designated for it is “Business Buds” (short for buddies) and its gatherings will vary in the time of day that they will take place due to the varying schedules of the participants.

2018 Election Discussion

After starting our day off in Ashtabula, we traveled for more than an hour in order to reach the Hippodrome Banquet Center on High Street Northeast in Warren where we attended a City Club of Mahoning Valley Panel Discussion regarding what could learned from the 2018 midterm elections.

This discussion was moderated by Ms. Amanda Rabinowitz, host of Morning Edition, 89.7 KSU-FM and the participants were: Ms. Kim Adkins, Attorney; Kim Adkins, LPA; Ms. Kristen Olmi, Member of KO Consulting, LLC and President of the League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown; and Tracey Winbush, Host and CEO of Opsi-Media, Inc. and former Vice Chair of the Mahoning Valley Republican Party.

The discussion was often quite spirited due to the fact that all three of the panelists had very strong viewpoints as well as facts and statistics to support them. Ms. Rabinowitz was quite wise to only ask a couple of questions and let the panelists largely set their own direction. At all times, however, the principles of respectful civil discourse were observed. 

What we personally took away from the encounter was that, due to poor economic conditions, many of the people likely to vote democratic have moved from the Mahoning Valley area and those that remained are more likely to actually turnout to vote and to cast their ballots for the republicans; this explains to some degree the closeness of the contests in 2016 and 2018. They also noted that voter turnouts could be greater if more door-to-door personalized encounters were conducted instead of relying (probably too much) on social media to carry the message that the political parties and their candidates seek to impart.  

Needless to say, during the Q&A, we asked about how the democrats having control of the House of Representatives will affect immigration policy. To their credit, all three panelists agreed comprehensive immigration reform was overdue but opinions differed as to what can be done.

One opinion was that the House might well initiate a reform package but it would be up to the U.S. Senate to act upon it and whether or not they did would depend on how important an issue it was to the U.S. Senators facing re-election. And then, again, there just might be deadlock and very little could be accomplished.

As for Ohio, someone asked how important immigration was to voters here and the indication was that it was not as much an issue as it is in other states. To be sure, people question the family separations, deportations, and ICE raids, but probably don’t feel so strongly about it to make it the determining factor on who to vote for.

Before the program, we visited with Ms. Winbush, who was very receptive to what we had to say; in fact, she had come out strongly in support of Mr. Amer Othman, the Youngstown businessperson who was deported in early 2018 after living in the United States for decades.

Ms. Winbush told us that she is very concerned about the way that the authorities treat people suspected of being undocumented, which she believes is sometimes inhumane. In talking with our colleagues in the office, it was clear that many of them feel the same way.