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Black Lawmakers Call For More Diversity As Ohio Democrats Pick Leader

First Sunday early in-person voters lined up around the Stark Board of Elections, through the back lot to the street.
M.L. Schultze
/
WKSU
First Sunday early in-person voters lined up around the Stark Board of Elections, through the back lot to the street.

There’s a new leadership team heading up Ohio’s Legislative Black Caucus, and they’re pressing the state Democratic Party to make diversity a priority. 

State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) is the new chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, and he's concerned the party isn’t doing enough to reflect the communities it represents.

“I think going forward, that’s part of the problem of why we can’t get people out to vote," West says. "Because people don’t think it’s, you know, they don’t represent them.”

Ohio Democratic Party leader David Pepper stepped down late last year after the party failed to show significant electoral improvements in 2020 – losing even more ground in the Ohio legislature.

Only one of the declared candidates to replace Pepper is Black: Vanessa Enoch, who ran unsuccessfully for Ohio’s 8th congressional district last year.

"They say that the Democratic Party has a big tent, and that the Black community is that stake in that tent, O.K.?” West says. “So we stabilize the party. And if that's the case, then we need to be treated as such."