All posts by anne

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Hamilton County Veterans Address Orlando Sonza’s Appointment to VSC

Hamilton County Veterans Address Congressional Candidate’s Controversial Decision to Take Job as Executive Director of Veterans Service Commission

CINCINNATI – Today, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairwoman Gwen McFarlin joined local veterans to discuss the recent announcement of Orlando Sonza as Executive Director of the Hamilton County Veterans Service Commission.

“Democrats in Hamilton County support our veterans. Serving our veterans is not a part-time endeavor. It demands our full dedication and resources.” – Gwen McFarlin, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairwoman

“As a veteran, I’m disappointed to see Sonza take this job, and this salary, while he is actively pursuing another job. Serving veterans isn’t a side gig. The Veterans Service Commission deserves a committed, full-time leader.” – Connie Pillich, Veteran, U.S. Air Force

“The Veterans Service Commission provides critical support to our community. And at a time when they could be drastically increasing services, their new Executive Director is not focusing 100% on this vital position. I’m concerned about what this will mean for veterans, spouses, and caregivers in Southwest Ohio.” – John Plahovinsak, Retired Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army

“Sonza should know better than to take a full-time, tax-payer funded paycheck to do part-time work at the expense of veterans. It’s reprehensible, and it speaks to his character.” – Bill Tipton, U.S. Navy Veteran and former Lieutenant and Surface Warfare Officer

“He’s put the VSC and veterans in a really bad position. They asked him to be full-time, they’re giving him a full-time salary, and he’s told them that they only get part of his time? If he wants to keep running his sham campaign, then he shouldn’t have taken the job. He can’t commit to serving Hamilton County’s veterans full-time.” – Rep. Greg Landsman

Orlando Sonza, resident of Ohio’s 8th Congressional District and candidate for Ohio’s 1st Congressional District, has committed to restricting fundamental freedoms such as access to reproductive healthcare and marriage equality and is focused on electing convicted felon Donald Trump. By accepting the VSC Executive Director position, Sonza is either admitting that his campaign is a sham, or he is short-changing Hamilton County veterans and taxpayers by drawing a six-figure salary for part-time work.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this release do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense, the United States Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine Corps/Coast Guard, or any other branch of the military. Use of military rank and title is solely for identification purposes and does not imply endorsement by the military or the Department of Defense.

We’re Hiring! HCDP Coordinated Campaign Manager


The Hamilton County Democratic Party is seeking an enthusiastic, experienced individual to serve as the 2024 HCDP Coordinated Campaign Manager.

Reports to: HCDP Executive Director

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Responsibilities include:

  • Recruiting, training, and managing HCDP volunteers, especially District Chairs, Ward Chairs, and Precinct Executives.
  • Leading voter registration efforts for HCDP in conjunction with volunteers.
  • Planning regular canvass launches and weekends of action with volunteers.
  • Attending community events to inform and engage Democrats.
  • Coordinating with and assisting individual campaigns on organizing efforts as needed.

Preferred skills and qualifications:

  • Experience volunteering with a campaign or community organization.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Organized and detail-oriented.
  • Enthusiasm for electing Democrats on the local, state, and federal levels of government.

This is a full-time, in-person position from July to November of 2024. Position comes with a monthly stipend of $4,500. Depending on the candidate’s preference and/or availability, there is an option to begin part-time work in June. 

To apply, please email with the subject line “2024 HCDP Coordinated Campaign Manager.” Attach a resume and a paragraph (no more than 10 sentences) on why you are interested in this role. Applications are due by 5:00pm on June 13, 2024.

Karen Brownlee Endorsed by HCDP in OH-28

CINCINNATI – Social worker Karen Brownlee of Symmes Township was endorsed by the Hamilton County Democratic Party for State Representative in Ohio’s 28th House District.

 “I will continue to work for equitable access to support the health and safety of all people in the Great 28 and in Ohio,” Karen Brownlee shares with supporters, “Protecting our democracy and fighting for democratic values are what I will focus on when elected.”

Hamilton County Auditor and former State Representative from OH-28 Jessica Miranda states that “as a clinical social worker, Karen deeply understands the needs of our communities for sustained well-being and growth. I am eager to join Karen in engaging with the diverse neighborhoods of the #Great28 to ensure our communities elect her this November so we can maintain a fighter for our families and communities in Columbus.”

“Karen doesn’t run away from challenges,” says Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairwoman Gwen McFarlin, “she runs towards them. She leads with civility, something that the Ohio Statehouse is sorely lacking. Karen is a fighter for equality, and I have no doubt she will win this November.”

Brownlee’s Republican opponent was rejected by voters in Ohio’s 27th District two years ago due to her extreme beliefs and policy positions.



Notice is hereby given that the Central Committee of the Hamilton County Democratic Party shall convene to select a candidate to fill the vacancy in party nomination for the State Representative in the 28th House District at the date and time listed below. 


April 27, 1:00 PM


Symmes Township Branch Library

11850 Enyart Road, Loveland, OH 45140

The meeting will be open to the public. Only members of the Central Committee and those recognized by the Chair may participate. Only members of the Central Committee in the 28th House District may vote on the party nomination before the committee.



With the appointment of Jessica Miranda as Hamilton County Auditor, there is a vacancy in the Democratic Nomination for State Representative of the 28th District in the upcoming election.

If you or someone you know is interested in running for the Ohio House of Representatives in District 28, please reach out to Macie, our new ED, at or by calling 513-421-0495. Questionnaires will need to be completed by Friday, April 19th at 5:00pm.

HCDP’s Nominating Committee will screen all candidates who apply and make a recommendation to be voted on by the Central Committee members in the 28th House District.


Jessica Miranda Appointed Hamilton County Auditor

CINCINNATI – Former State Representative and Ohio House Minority Whip Jessica Miranda was appointed Hamilton County Auditor by a vote of the Hamilton County Democratic Party Central Committee on Saturday, April 13th.

Miranda’s appointment fulfills the wishes of former Hamilton County Auditor and lifelong public servant Brigid Kelly.

CDC Meeting Notice


Cincinnati Democratic Committee Meeting April 13th Meeting Notice

Immediately following the HCDP meeting on Saturday, April13th Precinct Executives who live in the City of Cincinnati will hold a brief Cincinnati Democratic Committee (CDC) meeting. The CDC endorses candidates for Mayor, City Council and CPS School Board and on city ballot issues.

At the April 13th meeting Precinct Executives will elect CDC officers, including Co-Chairs, five Vice Chairs, one Treasurer and one Secretary. Christie Kuhns and Anne Sesler are running for re-election as Co-Chairs. The following current officers plan to run for re-election: Vice Chairs – Harriet Russell, Jens Sutmoller, Jasmine Coaston, and Ryan Shearer as well as Treasurer – Barbara Meyer. One Vice Chair and the Secretary officer is open. However, anyone can run for any office. Please let us know if you have questions or are interested in running for an office.

With no city candidates on the ballot in 2024, we will focus our energy supporting the HCDP Coordinated Campaign to elect the state and county slate of endorsed Democrats. The CDC meeting will be held:

Saturday April 13th

Approx. 10:30 am

(Immediately following the HCDP meeting which begins at 9:30 am)

10708 Reading Rd. Cincinnati 45241


Questions? Contact Macie Grisemer, Executive Director, Hamilton County Democratic Party, at 513-421-0495 or


Chairwoman Gwen McFarlin Statement on Brigid Kelly’s Life of Service

“Brigid Kelly was born to serve the people. She has been a true servant leader throughout her young life. As an elected official she served the people and reflected the values of civility, integrity, dignity, and respect that all elected officials should have.

“She worked across party lines, was a great listener and trail blazer.

”Yesterday evening, she closed her eyes to this world and opened her eyes to a new world. Her boldness, tenacity, and spirit live on.”

Chairwoman Gwen McFarlin Statement on the Resignation of Auditor Brigid Kelly

CINCINNATI – Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairwoman Gwen McFarlin released the following statement:

“I am saddened to learn of Auditor Brigid Kelly’s resignation. Auditor Kelly is an outstanding Auditor and gave tremendous service to the residents of Hamilton County.

“I have known the Auditor for many years and have been impressed with her intellect, work ethic, and dedication to her constituents.

“Brigid Kelly has been one of our most hard-working campaigners, canvassing tirelessly for our endorsed Democrats. We have all thoroughly enjoyed working with her and her support for the slate has been significant and meaningful.

“Our prayers are with Brigid and her family. We hope she knows how much we love her and how much all residents in the county have for her hard work and dedication to public service.”

HCDP Endorses Joe Salvato for Ohio House District 29

HCDP’s Executive Committee voted to endorse Joe Salvato for the Ohio House District 29. The district encompasses most of western Hamilton County.

“Joe has volunteered for Democratic candidates and issues for many years. He is an experienced organizer and dedicated volunteer. Joe’s campaign will focus on uprooting corruption and breaking the Republican Supermajority in the Statehouse by flipping this seat,” said Gwen McFarlin, HCDP Chair. “We are excited to have his campaign mobilize voters for the entire Democratic ticket and lay a strong political foundation in HD 29 and Colerain Township for future progress.”

Joe issued the following statement on his endorsement:

We are deeply honored by the endorsement of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. Diane and I feel incredibly privileged to carry the banner into this election, representing the strong values and aspirations of our community. We are committed to earning every vote and engaging in the kind of dialogue that moves us forward together.

As we stand on the threshold of a pivotal moment for our communities in Harrison, Harrison Township, Whitewater Township, Crosby Township, Colerain Township, Mt. Healthy, North College Hill, Greenhills, Glendale, and portions of Springfield Township, we are energized and ready to serve.

It is our sincere hope and prayer that the electorate chooses a government rooted in sensibility, one that will steadfastly preserve our environment for future generations, protect our communities with diligence, and support a healthy labor force in building a robust economy that works for everyone.

Above all, we pledge to uphold the fundamental American values of freedom and equality, ensuring they are not just words we speak, but actions we live by every day. This endorsement strengthens our resolve to serve with integrity, passion, and an unwavering dedication to the people of Hamilton County.


HCDP Endorses in County, State and Congressional Races

January 20, 2024 — The Hamilton County Democratic Party voted unanimously to endorse candidates for the November 2024 ballot, including:

  • Greg Landsman, OH-1, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Ty Hogan, 8th Ohio Senate District
  • Jessica Miranda, 28th Ohio House District
  • Cecil Thomas, 25th Ohio House District
  • Sedrick Denson, 26th Ohio House District
  • Rachel Baker, 27th Ohio House District
  • Dani Isaacsohn, 24th Ohio House District
  • Stefanie Hawk, 30th Ohio House District
  • Scott Crowley, County Recorder
  • Denise Driehaus, County Commissioner
  • Charmaine McGuffey, County Sheriff
  • Pavan Parikh, Clerk of Courts
  • Connie Pillich, County Prosecutor
  • Alicia Reece, County Commissioner
  • Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco, County Coroner
  • Jill Schiller, County Treasurer

HCDP Endorses candidates for Court of Appeals and Common Pleas Court

At the December 2nd HCDP Executive Committee meeting, endorsements were made for the November ballot in seven judicial seats. A big thanks to the Judicial Nominating Committee, led by Britt Born and made up of a diverse group of Democratic attorneys (and non-attorneys) that practice in nearly every area of the law, who dedicated their time and attention to serve on this committee.


There are seven judicial seats up for election in 2024 that were considered by this committee:

  • Four Court of Appeals seat currently held by Marilyn Zayas, Candace Crouse, Pierre Bergeron, and Bob Winkler.
  • Three Common Pleas General Division seats: 2 field race seats currently held by Leslie Ghiz and Lisa Allen, and the head-to-head seat currently held by Terry Nestor.


Pierre Bergeron has decided not to seek re-election in 2024. This left his seat open for the Judicial Committee to consider a replacement. Thank you, Judge Bergeron. You will be missed, and we wish you well in your next chapter.


1st District Court of Appeals


Marilyn Zayas, 1st District Court of Appeals – Judge Zayas was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2016, and became the first Latina judge elected to the Court of Appeals in Ohio. Since then, she has been asked to sit on cases as a visiting judge in the Second, Sixth, Eighth, and Tenth District Appellate Courts, and as a sitting judge on the Ohio Supreme Court for a recused justice.


Candace Crouse, 1st District Court of Appeals – Judge Crouse was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2018. Candace hit the ground running and has helped to make pages and pages of improvements to court operations – including the use of interns, updates to the court management system, and increased transparency to name a few.


Richard Moore, 1st District Court of Appeals – Richard Moore has been in private practice for 30 years. He’s practiced in state and federal courts, represented plaintiffs and defendants, individuals and businesses, large corporations and small businesses. The majority of his practice has been in civil litigation – including personal injury, medical malpractice, and breach of contract claims – but he has also successfully represented several inmates who brought civil rights claims against the State of Ohio.


Rich has a very impressive employment resume, but his background and experience outside the courtroom are equally impressive.

  • He was the President of UC’s Black Law Student Association, serving on a Roundtable to increase representation of minority attorneys at major law firms across Cincinnati.
  • He has served as the Vice President of Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati.
  • He co-chairs the Greater Cincinnati Minority Counsel Program.
  • He’s one of the few black partners at 4th Street law firms.
  • He serves on his firm’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion committee.
  • And if elected, he will be the first African American elected to the First District Court of Appeals.


The historical significance of this should not be undervalued. We are the only major city in Ohio that does not have African American representation on our Court of Appeals. It’s important that we recognize the importance of diversity on our Court of Appeals, so that the background and experiences of our entire population are represented on the Court.


Terry Nestor, 1st District Court of Appeals – Judge Nestor currently serves on the Common Pleas Court, General Division. During his time there, he has helped create a Re-Entry Docket for individuals granted early release from prison, and worked with Judge Sanders on the Drug Court Advisory Committee.  Perhaps most importantly, when we talk about diversity and needs of the Court, that also means diversity of background and experience. It’s important that our Court of Appeals includes individuals who have served on lower courts and bring that experience of serving as a judge at the trial court level.


Common Pleas Court, General Division


There are 3 seats up for election in 2024 in this division, 2 field seats and one head-to-head seat.


Steve Simon, Common Pleas Court (seat currently held by Terry Nestor) – Steve has practiced law for 26 years, predominantly in the area of labor & employment law. He has taken leadership roles within the Cincinnati Bar Association and the Pleasant Ridge Community Council. Steve and his wife were instrumental in the revival of public schools in Pleasant Ridge, culminating with the opening of Pleasant Ridge Montessori in 2008. And he led the charge against the Ohio EPA regarding the clean-up at the contaminated Hilton Davis site.


Bernie Mundy, Common Pleas Court – Bernie has practiced criminal law for the last 29 years. He has represented people facing charges from theft to aggravated murder, and has tried countless high level and special felonies with many acquittals over the years. He is well respected in the legal community, and has a temperament we should all aspire to. Bernie stepped up previously to run in a difficult race on a short timeframe in 2022 and put up impressive numbers in a campaign that was only a few short months. The committee is confident that Bernie will be successful this time around.


Virginia Tallent, Common Pleas Court – Virginia’s career spans across social and legal systems. She began her litigation career with Legal Aid and the moved to City of Cincinnati Law Department as a Senior Assistant City Solicitor. She eventually shifted and became more policy focused, serving as the Human Services Director for the City of Cincinnati, and most recently the Assistant City Manager. Her background has the potential to make her an innovator and a leader on our Court.