Scioto Democrats rally at Fall Banquet

Chris Dunham, PDT Sports Writer

October 12, 2012

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

Scioto County Democrats celebrated Thursday evening with their annual Fall Banquet at the James Dickey American Legion Post 23, in Portsmouth. Held each year in October, the banquet offers the community an opportunity to hear the issues and meet the candidates from the upcoming election and current office holders.

“It is a gathering for some of the people that don’t attend the monthly meeting of the Scioto County Democratic Party, to get to put a face with a name on a sign or a political ad,” said Scioto County Democratic Party Chairman Randy Basham.

This year’s guest speaker was former Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland. Basham called Strickland, and her husband — former 6th District Representative and Ohio Governor — Ted Strickland, the “bloodline” of the Scioto County party. Mrs. Strickland spoke at the banquet about the “47 percent” that Romney referenced, and how important it is for them to stick with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

“Some of the things Governor Romney said today (Thursday), he seems to be so insulated from the concerns of the people in this area, that he doesn’t even know that a lot of people can’t get health care when they go to hospitals and things. His total lack of understanding and ability to relate to those who aren’t wealthy just boggles my mind,” she said.

While traveling all over campaigning for Obama with her husband, Strickland said it’s always nice to be back home in Scioto County.

“I always like coming back here. I like any excuse,” she said. “There’s nothing like going back to places where you do call people by their first name and know who they are. So many times we’d walk into those northern counties and you wouldn’t know a soul.”

During the evening the party also awarded the Democrat of the Year award to Melanie Ogg, and inducted Jane Pack into the Scioto County Democrat Hall of Fame. Past inductees of the Hall of Fame include Ted Strickland, Bob Walton, Steve Mowery, Todd Book, Vern Riffe, Sr., Vern Riffe, Jr., and Vern “Skip” Riffe III. With Pack’s induction, there are now 69 members of the Scioto County Democrat Hall of Fame.

After the banquet concluded, attendees were invited downstairs to watch the Vice Presidential Debate on the big screen television.

The Fall Banquet is the Scioto County Democratic Party’s largest annual fundraiser. Tickets were sold at the party’s headquarters on Chillicothe Street in Portsmouth, and at the door the evening of the banquet.

In anticipation of Republican candidate for U.S. President Mitt Romney visiting Portsmouth today, Basham pointed to the candidates’ polar positions on Medicare and Social Security.

“People have a clear choice in this campaign. If you want to see Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare go away, vote for Mitt Romney. If you want to protect that, vote for Obama and Biden. The livelihood of people in southern Ohio who rely on those social programs are at stake here,” Basham said.

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6, but early voting is open now.

Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, rottney@heartlandpublications.com.