Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Friday, August 4

Franklin County Comm'r: Brown (D) Takes On Stokes (R)

It was a pleasure to meet Franklin County Commissioner candidate Marilyn Brown (D) at a fundraiser for Ohio House candidate Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) last Sunday.

Brown was Public Affairs Director for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission for the last eight years. She says she is running because she worked with local government in Franklin County and "saw that we could do better." She has also served as the executive director of the Pickerington Chamber of Commerce, and before that was executive director of a nonprofit in the Cleveland area where she previously lived.

Brown is married to Eric Brown, a Judge on the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. When I asked her to identify her role model as a public official, Brown chose her husband, who also served on the Board of Education in Mayfield, Ohio, for 15 years. "He's the best consensus builder I have ever met," she said.

This is Brown's first campaign for public office, although she has "worked behind the scenes" in campaigns in Columbus and in Cleveland. She seeks to unseat 12-year incumbent Dewey R. Stokes (R). "It's so important to win the seat I am seeking this year," she says. "My opponent is a long-entrenched politician, of the old-style way of doing business. Lots of back room deal-making." Two of the three County Commissioners have been Democrats since Paula Brooks (D) was elected in 2004, joining Mary Jo Kilroy (D). "Franklin County can do better with job training, economic development, and job retention," she told me, "but it requires all three commissioners working together."

Back in February, the Central Ohio Labor Council (AFL-CIO) endorsed Brown's opponent, "as they always have." After that happened, Brown continued to meet with labor leaders to introduce herself, "let them know who I am," and "promise my honesty and high integrity, even not having their endorsement." In June, the Labor Council rescinded their endorsement of Stokes and endorsed Brown instead, the first time they have ever rescinded an endorsement. "I promised no deal making, no positions other than openness, high integrity and trust," Brown says. "The leaders respected that and have not respected my opponent's history of saying one thing and doing another for way too long."

Brown says this is "just one example of where integrity matters," and "in this year's election, we need change in the Franklin County Board of Commission to instill integrity in this last of three seats on the Commission." With three Democratic Commissioners, "we will have good government for ALL of Central Ohio's citizens!"

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