Former state Sen. Nina Turner recently spoke with NewsOne about her campaign to represent Ohio’s 11th Congressional District ahead of the final get-out-the-vote push. A daughter of Cleveland, Turner is among 13 Democrats running in next Tuesday’s primary.
Considered a “safe” district, the winner of the Democratic primary is likely to win the November general election. Last represented by Marcia Fudge — who left her post to become the Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary — the 11th Congressional District comprises mostly Cleveland and parts of Akron.
Polls have shown a tightening race between Turner and Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chairwoman Shontel Brown.
Some national coverage of the special election frames the contest as a battle between the Democratic establishment and the party’s progressive wing. But Turner, 53, says people of the district are just trying to realize the so-called American Dream.
“People want to live a good life,” Turner told NewsOne. “People who have children want to know that their children will have a better future than they had. They want to know that opportunities abound. They want to have health care.”
Turner also noted the COVID-19 pandemic exposed deep inequities across many affected communities. She said there was an opportunity to provide new opportunities to uplift communities.
“We can do a new thing,” Turner explained. “We can go bolder. We can go bigger. And we can really try to tackle the big challenges that plague our nation that plagued this district, that plagued my state.”
The 11th Congressional District is majority-Black. Data from Talk Poverty found the district had a poverty rate of 22.7 percent. Children in the district had a higher poverty rate at 32.9 percent.
Turner has represented many of the same constituents within the district as a former state representative and city councilperson. During the interview, Turner expressed how she remained focused on putting the district’s needs first regardless of party politics.
While she has drawn criticism for her prior opposition of Joe Biden — the candidate and the president — it is Turner’s willingness to challenge those in power that gained her the coveted endorsement of Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer’s editorial board. Out of the 13 Democratic candidates, the editorial board found Turner to have the right combination of putting people overpower and passional for public service.
“Many in this race cite the need for the next member of Congress from a district encompassing large parts of Cleveland and Akron to address generational poverty, systemic racism, Black voting rights, unequal access to health care and other urban, social ills,” read the endorsement. “The candidate best-equipped to tackle those challenges, hands-down, is Nina Turner.”
If elected, Turner said she will remain committed to staying engaged in the district, leading community meetings and town halls. She says she learned all she needed to know about politics from her time in local politics and her grandma.
Voters who did not get to vote early will make a choice on Tuesday. Turner encourages everyone who can cast a ballot to do so because she said every vote counts.
”You got to send somebody that is willing and ready to fight for the change in your material conditions, to change for conditions in our community, and also the change in this nation,” concluded Turner.
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