We’re literally in the final stretch and even though we’ve been in Ohio for months, it’s now or never in convincing Senator George Voinovich to do the right thing and vote for repeal. Not only is Congress about to adjourn for the session, but Voinovich is retiring from the Senate and elected office after a storied career as an Ohio public servant.
HRC has three staff on the ground in Ohio for this final push. While I am coordinating our efforts in Cleveland, Adrian Matanza and Collin Burton are in Columbus. We’re coordinating phone banks and letter writing activities to generate constituent contacts, as well as planning significant public forums with Ohio veterans, telling their stories about life under DADT and calling on Senator Voinovich to vote for repeal.
I arrived yesterday and immediately got to work. While I began planning our veterans’ forum at the Cleveland City Hall for this Thursday at noon, Adrian and Collin were setting up a similar event in Columbus at the State Capitol for a Thursday at noon kickoff as well. Voinovich cut his political teeth as the Mayor here in Cleveland before moving to the Statehouse as Governor and we want to remind him that he represents all Ohioans.
Last night, I was honored to be able to attend and speak with Cleveland PFLAG about our repeal efforts and mobilize them to take action by contacting the senator. More than 30 people attended the meeting and all of them want Senator Voinovich to vote for repeal.
Voinovich has a reputation as somewhat of an independent thinker by Ohioans – someone who is not afraid to buck his party to do the right thing. Now he has the opportunity to do just that and vote for the standalone repeal bill (S. 4023) and represent all Ohioans by allowing all our service members to serve with equal dignity and respect. It’s time for the senator to stand up and make his position known on this bill.