By Fletcher Word
Sojourner’s Truth Editor
Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor, recently picked as the running mate for gubernatorial candidate Cincinnati Mayor John Manley, held a press conference along with Manley last week, to voice the duo’s support for plans to restart Ohio’s Women’s Commission if elected.
The Ohio Women’s Policy and Research Commission was formed in 1990 but fell apart in 2002 when funding for the commission was omitted from the state budget. House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) is planning to introduce legislation to reboot it.
“Women have waited too long for full constitutional protections,” said Fedor. “The Cranley/Fedor administration will protect lots of women and girls.
Fedor gave “lots of credit to Emilia Sykes” for her efforts to re-establish the long-dormant commission as a permanent body to protect those rights. She pointed out the benefits of such a commission that would include: recognizing and advancing women’s rights; ensuring that women have seats at every table; assessing gender equity in a range of concerns such as health, education, the economy; leadership in research; policy advocacy; outreach to hear from women and girls; consulting and advocating on matters pertinent to women and girls.
In his opening statement at the press conference, Cranley mentioned that the long-awaited Equal Rights Amendment had finally received approval from the nation’s states to secure passage now that the Virginia, the final state necessary, had ratified the amendment two years ago. Ohio, he noted, had ratified it back in 1974.
“Ohio ratified the ERA nearly a half-century ago, hoping to finally guarantee women equal rights in the U.S. Constitution,” said Cranley in a press release later in the week. The issue with the ERA is that there is considerable disagreement among observers about whether Virginia’s ratification is timely enough to ensure it has met constitutional requirements.
Fedor has long been a champion for women’s rights and when she was selected in early January as Cranley’s running mate, the selection was lauded by no less a women’s rights advocate as Gloria Steinem.
Fedor has worked during her two decades in the General Assembly, both House and Senate, to bring attention to the issue of human trafficking and to preserve pro-choice rights, among other issues. For the past 11 years, Fedor has hosted an annual Human Trafficking Summit – a conference that brings together advocates from around the state to focus on ending human trafficking – the event has grown to reach international audiences.
Cranley, mayor of Cincinnati, announced Fedor as his running mate on January 5 during an appearance in Toledo.
“Teresa Fedor has proven that she has the experience, compassion and wisdom to join me in bringing about an Ohio comeback,” Cranley said during that announcement. “Together with our combined records of accomplishment, I’m confident that she is the perfect choice.”
Toledo native Gloria Steinem agreed with Cranley in his selection of her fellow Toledoan.
“I can think of no one who has more courageously represented the needs of her constituents, including the often forgotten welfare of women and girls,” wrote Steinem. “Today, I ask you to see what Teresa Fedor still needs to do to help Ohioans who are trafficked, who deserve adequately funded public schools and who are denied the democracy that begins with the right to make decisions about our own bodies. Please join me in supporting John Cranley for Governor and Teresa Fedor for Lieutenant Governor. Ohio is lucky to have them as leaders, as hard workers and as people of high principle and great heart.”
Cranley and Fedor will be facing Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and her running mate, Cheryl Stephens, Cuyahoga County councilmember and CEO of the East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation (EANDC) which provides affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization.
Fedor, after graduating for Anthony Wayne High School, served in the U.S. Air Force and then in the Ohio Air National Guard. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo, then began a 16-year career as a teacher with the Toledo Public Schools.
Fedor joined the state legislature in 2002 and currently represents Ohio’s 11th Senate District.