By: Former Chairman of the Lucas County Democratic party
This letter is a response to Rev. Donald Perryman’s article “Ashford Out as Party Chair?” (March 14, 2023).
The Chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party (LCDP) is a “VOLUNTEER” position. I was Chairman of LCDP from June 2020 to March 2023. The pandemic (COVID-19) was ravaging the country, over seven million small businesses closed, and families were losing loved-ones. Philanthropy donations and political donations to local political parties came to a crashing halt. In the middle of this chaos, there was a President, Senate, 9th District Congressional and other key County, and local races. The leadership team started to rebuild the party. Through collective efforts by many, the party was able to raise money to pay for operations (utilities, insurance, payroll, etc.), win key political seats and invest in candidates.
I would like to address Perryman’s comments and provide accurate information on the following specific issues:
The article stated, “money spent illegally.” The LCDP financial system has multiple processes in place to ensure transparency and accountability. LCDP follows accounting guidelines to provide clarity, consistency, and the communication of financial information. We implemented a check and balance to record, document and deposit all revenue. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of the donations are checks and online donations that are received through a system known as ACT-BLUE. The checks are recorded and documented by the Office Manager and deposits are reviewed by the Office Manager, Treasurer, and Chairman. Seventy percent (70%) of expenses (bills) were paid on-line by the Office Manager. Other expenses (bills) that are not paid online are paid by written checks that require TWO (2) signatures.
Your article mentioned “misappropriation of funds.” LCDP has a financial systematic design to deter any “misappropriations.” The first step is that the Office Manager documents and deposits all funds. The second step is that the Treasurer reviews all revenue, deposits, and online donations. The third step is that the monthly budget is prepared by the Treasurer with assistance from the Office Manager and the Chairman. There are three (3) independent steps to account for all revenue. Financial statements are presented to the full body of the Executive Committee that details all revenue (incoming money) and expenses (bills) for that reporting period and is submitted for approval by the executive committee monthly.
There have been NO improvements or investments in the building in over 30 years. There is a silver-lining in every cloud. This past winter, the water lines froze and burst. We filed an insurance claim, which will hopefully bring attention to the new leadership and body of all the upgrades and renovations that are needed for the building, this will address any possible asbestos issues.
There was a tremendous amount of growth and success. I want to share a few highlights.
- Served as Chairman from June 2020 to March 2023.
- 88% winning record (highest among the last 9 chairs).
- Increased democrat Women elected positions in Lucas County.
- Won City Council seats in the Lucas County suburbs (2021).
- Historical – 1st African America male Democrat to win a judicial seat in the Court of Appeals
- Democrat Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur was re-elected in the toughest election in 40 years (2022).
- Democrat Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz was re-elected to a second term (2021) becoming only the 2nd Mayor to repeat since strong mayor platform started in 1993.
- For the 2nd time in 35 years, Democrats won the top 5 out 6 seats for Toledo City Council at large seats (2021).
- Democrat candidate for Lucas County Common Pleas Court beat an incumbent Republican Judge.
- Successful sold out “Fall Dinner” that highlighted the achievements of women in politics. The last Fall Dinner was 18 years ago.
Perryman’s article made it sound like LCDP was on its death bed, which is NOT True. The LCDP has been blessed with exceptional elected officials (past and present) that wake up every morning committed to improving the quality of lives for all, making Toledo and Lucas County one of the best places to live is a top priority. We have the greatest volunteers in Ohio that generously give their time (at the Head Quarters, serving as Club Chairs, standing at polls, phone banking, working on committees, and even supporting fundraisers) without hesitation.
There are challenges in every political party. In 1978, Songwriter Gloria Gaynor, had a hit song, “I Will Survive.” The LCDP has and will continue to survive. I am the 10th Chair in nineteen years. I had to make tough decisions, which were not popular, but important for the next chapter.
I left the party better than I found it. I wish the next leadership all the good fortune, because at the end of the day, it’s about helping people.