The Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) Chairman David Pepper is coming to Oxford on Tuesday, Feb. 14. He will speak from 7 to 8:30 p.m. about “The Most Important Cycle for Ohio Democrats in 50 Years.”

In recent columns in the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Huffington Post, Pepper has called for Democrats and Republicans to “stand together and speak out to protect the rights of all Americans.”

Pepper is also concerned with Ohio public education. In a Huffington Post blog post titled “Cruella DeVos,” Pepper opposed President Trump’s nomination of DeVos for Secretary of Education, in part due to her history in Ohio. DeVos’s All Children Matter PAC in support of “school choice” – offering alternatives to public schools – was found to have violated Ohio law in 2008 and owes the state $5.3 million in fines and fees.

Charles Kennick, the Secretary of MU College Democrats, is looking forward to speaking with Pepper about opportunities to collaborate.

“I’m excited to tell [Pepper] what I think,” said Kennick. “Look we want to work with [Pepper] really bad, we want to turn the state back to being blue, as it was when I was growing up.”

In particular, Kennick is interested in establishing a monetary program and service partnership with College Democrat organizations throughout Ohio. Kennick hopes to see the ODP move in the direction of a true grassroots movement.

However, Maggie Bender, president of MU College Democrats, does not view the visit as an opportunity. While she is glad that Pepper is making himself available, she sees the visit as a political farce meant for show.

“I think he is very invested in his position and climbing the ranks,” said Bender. “I don’t think he’s making himself available in the way that we want him to, so we are going to try to change that by having a very direct conversation with him.”

Bender is also looking for answers about his behavior during the last election cycle. She said she was not impressed by his leadership and his failure to properly mobilize the younger electorate.

Luke Schroeder, Director of Communications for MU College Republicans, said he personally welcomes Pepper’s message promoting involvement.

“I welcome the idea of being proposition focused instead of opposition focused, and I think that both parties should move in that direction,” said Schroeder. “Even though we may disagree on policy, I would agree on the idea of pushing for optimistic leadership from anyone in any political party.”

The meeting is being hosted by the Butler County Progressive PAC and will take place in the LCNB Bank Building in Oxford and is free and open to the public. A social discussion will follow immediately after at Steinkeller.

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