CLEVELAND, OH – United States Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Louise Fudge is out of “partisan” politics. It’s why she’s not made any public comments about who will replace her as the 11th Congressional District representative.
The Hatch Act of 1939 prevents federal officials and workers from engaging in partisan political activities. There has been and will be no endorsements for any of the partisan races coming from HUD Secretary Fudge. Any candidate claiming Fudge’s endorsement is dragging her name into a selfish life and an unnecessary controversy. Newspaper reporters publishing the lie that Fudge has violated the Hatch Act should produce their proof instead of sharing what someone may have told them.
Fudge has come too far in political life to jeopardize an opportunity she wanted for anyone. The 11th Congressional race is wide open. Anyone can win.
A candidate thinking they have a “lock” on the race just because they’ve got money, position, endorsements and modest name recognition is living in a fool’s paradise. Their “upper tier” support isn’t making it to the streets. In this political climate anything can happen. One well-orchestrated “hit” and their hopes are over. Just ask 2017 Cleveland mayoral candidate Jeffrey Johnson.
Johnson had name recognition, money and an early jump on every contender to Mayor Frank Jackson. He had the complete “foot soldier” and financial backing of the SEIU labor union.
Cleveland voters learned he was seeking the mayor’s job while living with his wife and family in Twinsburg. Johnson’s campaign was over. It can happen to anyone. Every “front running” contender has best believe their past is in some researcher’s crosshairs. It’s happened to me and other candidates who were expected to win.
In the 11th Congressional District there are candidates like former State Senator Shirley Smith and State Representative John Barnes, Jr. whose names have already been dragged through the political mud and survived. They’ve had long careers in public life and lived, unlike Johnson, freely without any “real” scandal. They also have real accomplishments and a demonstrated commitment to the American Negro community. Neither has ever been perceived or described as a “sellout.”
Barnes bears the name of his father who served Ward 1 as a Cleveland councilman with George L. Forbes. He’s the longest serving council president.
Smith served in the Ohio Senate and as a State Representative. She represented my House District during my term as East Cleveland’s mayor and we worked well together.
Smith distinguishes herself from the crop of candidates currently in the race with her mission driven performance as a state legislator where she remained focused and worked with both sides of the General Assembly to get second chance legislation enacted for ex-offenders with State Senator Bill Seitz. After she was term limited out of office as a state senator, Republican Governor John Kasich appointed the Democrat to the Ohio Parole Authority.
In our conversations she complained about how they were treating American Negro men and how she “wasn’t going for it.” It was the same type of conversations we had during my time as mayor and she was my state legislator. Once Shirley got on “Second Chance” she didn’t stop until the law was passed. Every Ohioan whose criminal records histories are clean should be thanking Shirley for her commitment to “them.”
Barnes sued the Ohio Democratic Party for acting as if American Negro legislators could only speak through the leadership of the Legislative Black Caucus. It was similiar to a discussion I had with former Parma Heights Mayor Martin Zanotti about William D. Mason’s county reform initiative in 2009.
Zanotti said he hadn’t sought my opinion as East Cleveland’s mayor, and a member of the Cuyahoga County Mayors & City Managers Association, because he had spoken to Arnold Pinkney. In his demented mind the late Pinkney, a private citizen, spoke for all “Black” elected officials so he didn’t need to talk to me. When I aggressively opposed the so-called reform plan as nothing more than the installation of an organized crime gang Zanotti learned, quickly, that American Negroes don’t have leaders.
I related to Barnes’ indignation as one of my Son’s Godfather’s was an Italian American and another is like a brother to me. I asked each if Zanotti spoke for Italian Americans and their answers were the same. “Get the fuck out of here.” My sentiments … exactly. Barnes insisted that he be treated the same as every Caucasian legislator and consulted with individually by Democrats in the General Assembly.
If voters in the 11th Congressional District feel “pushed” and “manipulated” into choosing a candidate; the truth is they are by the racist and largely segregated mainstream media. There are more candidates to consider than those who think they have a “lock.” In the immortal words of the late George “P Funk” Clinton of the Parliament Funkadelics.
“Free your mind and your azz will follow.” Pick your own candidate. No one can choose for you. The only endorsement that matters is your vote.