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Should the Black community be concerned with the upcoming elections?

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Dwight Tillery. Photo provided

By The Honorable Dwight Tillery

Former Cincinnati Mayor

Last week, the Westside Power Pack issued its ticket for the next election with Cranley at the top of the ticket. Jason Williams predicts that the Council will end up with fewer Blacks on Council. Three spots are open since Winburn is term limited, Simpson is running for mayor, and Kevin Flynn isn’t seeking reelection.

Earlier this year, I wrote a column suggesting that Williams’ prediction may very well happen. I also stated in that article that this would not be a good thing. In 1991, the city faced the possibility that no Blacks would be elected to City Council. Some members of the business community stated that this wouldn’t be good for the city. What we face in the upcoming election isn’t a question as to whether or not Blacks will be elected, but how many. Or does race matter? Unfortunately, it does.

I don’t believe in quotas and the like, but with a population of almost fifty percent Black people, there should be a fair representation of racial and ethnic groups reflected on the Council.

I think the city took a significant step when Chris Seelbach was elected as the first openly gay member of City Council. He’s been a critical voice for the city and the LBGTQ community. What I like the most about Chris is that he’s not shy about who he is and those he represents. Our city has become more and more diverse.

It’s critical that Council reflect the diversity in our government. Again, this isn’t a question of quotas but a reflection as to how we govern ourselves.

For the last two decades, four Blacks have been consistently elected to City Council. They have been from diverse party affiliations and economic and social backgrounds. Some of the Black members have not championed the concerns of the population most responsible for their election to Council. This fact is another good reason why quotas don’t necessarily work. However, when our country moves beyond race voting, we must continue to make sure that all populations are refl ected in our electoral process.

Here are candidates—not incumbents—running for City Council that deserve attention in light of this article: Tamaya Dennard, Ozie Davis, Kelli Prather, and Lesley Jones.

Some exciting new candidates are running for the first time who are not Black but deserve consideration as we go into campaign season. They are Derek Bauman and Michelle Dillingham.

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