Annual Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus Gathering Draws Large Crowd

September 13, 2009

by Kathy Groob, Publisher ElectWomen Magazine

The Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus(ODWC) packed a banquet hall in Columbus on Saturday for their annual women’s luncheon.  This year’s topic was centered on health care, specifically issues facing women and children.  About 400 women came together from all across Ohio to hear about the Democratic Party’s plan for 2010 and to honor and hear from four distinguished women working in the healthcare field.  First Lady, Frances Strickland was in attendance and was recognized for her significant contributions to women’s causes and candidates in Ohio.

Led by a dynamic core group of young women, the ODWC and the Ohio Democratic Party have made a significant impact on elections and on Democratic politics in Ohio.  Saturday’s program highlighted the strides that have been made in the past three years starting in 2006 by shattering 16 years of Republican dominance when they elected Sherrod Brown to the U.S. Senate, Ted Srickland as Governor, Jennifer Brunner as Secretary of State and Richard Cordray as Attorney General.

Lauren Groh-Wargo, the ODP Deputy Executive Director and Liz Shirey, ODWC Executive Director both thanked the nearly 400 women in attendance for their work which lead to Ohio’s success in 2008.  Groh-Wargo laid out a roadmap for winning and retaining seats in 2010.  Titled “The Knockout”, the Ohio Democrats plan to hold onto their new congressional seats, retain control of the Ohio House and pick up a U.S. Senate seat with either Jennifer Brunner or Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, both of whom were in attendance Saturday.

IMG_0563Accolades were given to the four healthcare honorees, which began with Jeanine Donaldson, Executive Director of Elyria YWCA.  Donaldson stressed to the audience how important it is to get women involved and elected, and she urged the women in the audience to “get off the bench” and run for public office.

Dr. Judith Van Ginkel, the President of Every Child Succeeds described the success of her program that works with at-risk mothers and babies in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.   Her organization has had tremendous success in decreasing infant mortality rates and helping young at-risk mothers complete their education and begin a path towards independence.  Dr. Van Ginkel is also the author of Life Begins and Ends With Girlfriends and she described how important women’s friendships are to their overall health and well-being.

Virginia O’Keeffe, the founder and CEO of Amethyst, Inc., described her work in treating the needs of those in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction along with sexual abuse, trauma and domestic violence.

The final speaker was Doni Miller, the CEO of Neighborhood Health Association.  She oversees federally funded community health care clinics and is passionate about women’s and minority rights.  She shared stories with the audience about raising the self-esteem of young women and girls and how important that is to reducing teen pregnancy. She is also the host of Bridges, a public affairs television show which focuses on the social and economic issues effecting people of color.

For more information about the Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus, visit: