It’s Election Day and one of the highly watched races is for State Senator of the 9th District between former City Council member and police officer, Cecil Thomas and current Council member Charlie Winburn.
For weeks, the public have been bombarded with yard signs and commercials pleading for support of the two candidates. Winburn could not be out done on signs, commercials, and an ever growing entourage.
Fortunately for Winburn the GOP is heavily funded by big businesses making it easier to be noticed and heard. Many of the debates between Cecil Thomas and Charlie Winburn have been very animated but ultimately good spirited.
As an engaged voter I have had the pleasure of meeting both candidates and I believe they are both good men that would work hard in being effective in the State Senate. The only difference is one is a Republican and the other is a Democrat, and depending on your party affiliation one may lean more to your views than the other. However this race has slightly divided the party because the Republican opponent, Charlie Winburn has worked diligently in establishing alliances with known democrats to encourage other Democrats to convert their support to a Republican candidate.
Winburn has done a real job in branding Cecil Thomas for the Marijuana ordinance 910-23 passed through council years ago and recently repealed. He blamed Cecil for close to 10,000 black men being unable to get work. Last week in an 8 to 0 vote, Winburn touts that he has passed a law that will expunge the records of the 10,000 or so black men affected by the marijuana law. With the excitement of this new law that supposed to help all these brothers, Winburn placed the invite on November 3rd to join him at a local club for his “Get out to Vote” rally during happy hour with “Free Wings” on him!
Whose bright idea was it to get the black base of voters to “Get out to vote” with chicken? Who came up with the strategic formula that Black People + Chicken = VOTES? I don’t know whether to laugh or be grossly offended. Some may see this as no big deal but this race isn’t just being viewed by the black community but everyone. I just don’t know if much thought was put into how that image reflects back on our base of voters. Unfortunately, or fortunately for some, if it works toward Winburn’s advantage, the Republican Party will be back with other candidates bringing truckloads of chicken for votes. I am sadly shaking my head.
However, the greater issue is the misinformation regarding Winburn’s law. The 10,000 black men thought to qualify under Winburn’s expungement law may actually only be a few 1,000’s. A person who has more than 2 offenses automatically does not qualify. This knocks out thousands. If you are at or under two offenses you overcome one hurdle only to jump through a few more. A person would have to file a motion to reduce the misdemeanor marijuana charge down to a ticket then you still have to go before a judge and hope that they will grant the expungement. Winburn’s law does not require judges to expunge the offense, it is still under their discretion. A lot of people who came out to eat chicken thinking they will be getting their record expunged are going to pay $50 for nothing. Sadly, most have given their vote for chicken and a half truth on the law.
Charlie Winburn has been asked many times why do you stand behind the Republican Party and he has stated in a debate that he “doesn’t want to place his eggs all in one basket.” People like Charlie Winburn but some have a real issue with the party that he represents. It is hard to understand why Winburn would want to be associated with a party where the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio fought the Ohio State Conference NAACP to reduce early voting, ultimately losing golden week. It’s difficult to make sense why Winburn would want to be aligned with Republicans like prosecutor Joe Deters who wasted millions in tax payer dollars to persecute the first African American female Juvenile Judge in Hamilton County. Why does Winburn accept funding by a party that bank rolls on the demise of the poor and disfranchised; a party of obstruction and no solutions.
Many black Republicans have left the party for those reasons and more, why hasn’t Charlie Winburn? Instead of so many converting to join Winburn he should be converting to the party that aligns more with the community he is trying to serve, and still be a great leader that represents our values. Hopefully, one day old Charlie will come back home, until then I guess its money and chicken over everything.
Is your vote for sale?