GREENVILLE — Vote early and vote Democrat.
That’s the message Darke County Democrats heard at the party’s annual “Fall Fest” held at the American Legion Hall in Greenville Thursday.
Featured speakers leading the charge for Democratic candidates were Francis Strickland, the wife of former Ohio Governor and current Senate candidate Ted Strickland, and former Dayton Mayor and current Vice Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party Rhine McLin.
Also speaking were Democratic candidate Steve Fought, seeking to upend Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Troy) in the 8th U.S. House election, Leon Rogers, running for a seat on the Darke County Board of Commissioners, and Elana Orbuch, coordinator for the Western Ohio Hillary Clinton Campaign.
Darke County Engineer and head of the county’s Democrats, Jim Surber, introduced the featured speakers.
“In preparation for an historic election, and one that will most likely determine the first female president of the United States, we thought it fitting to hear from two of the most prominent women in the state of Ohio,” he said.
Speaking to the audience, McLin referred to supporters of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump as “unmentionables.”
“Have you ever, in your life, those of you who are Baby Boomers like I am, have lived through the Nixon-Kennedy debate, all the way up to now, have you ever seen anything like this in their lifetime?” she asked.
“I tell you that what is really impacting is that these people do not realize that they are setting a precedent for the future of how we look at one another and how we respect the statehouse, how we respect the White House. That’s important because our children are watching it. Our children are hearing it.”
McLin accused Republicans of sexism as it pertains to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
“On paper, as well as qualifications, in the history of the United States, we have never had a person run for president, with all the qualifications, but yet the elephant in the room is sexism,” she said.
“I never thought I’d live to see an African-American become president of the United States,” McLin added, “That gives the little boy living in the inner city hope that he can be something. Take the little girls now. They see this woman, and they’re saying ‘I can grow up to be president.’”
McClin also urged voters to elect Strickland to the Senate.
“When Democrats vote, we win. When we stay home, we lose,” she concluded.
Strickland pointed to the Millennial generation as being essential to the Democrats’ victory November 8.
“The Millennials and the young people, are starting to break now for Hillary. Young people make a big difference in these elections,” she said.
In addition to promoting the candidacy of her husband, Strickland sought to distinguish the differences between Trump and Clinton.
“She is trying to change the tone of this country,” she said. “She’s talking about ‘stronger together.’ We’ve got one who’s dividing us. She’s doing the exact opposite. And this race for president is allowing this country to see what kind of a country they want to have.”
“If she wasn’t doing anything else to try to change the tone of the country, I think that’s reason enough to elect her president,” she added.
“One of the biggest problems we have as Democrats is we tend to be kindhearted, we don’t like vitriolic stuff, we don’t like harshness, we don’t like fussing at each other,” Strickland said. “So when something rancorous comes up, we basically just keep our mouths shut and hope we get out of it alive. But I’ve been asking people to speak up, if they can…Because we can’t be silent.”
Strickland favored the audience by playing guitar and singing two songs she wrote about this year’s campaign.
“If you want to be a big old grump, hang out with the Donald Trump,” she sang.
Surber thanked the two for speaking to the county’s Democrats.
“This year which promises to be the year of the woman, and we’ve certainly heard from two of the finest women in the state of Ohio tonight,” he said.