The thing is, because we pride ourselves in pursuing topical news to offer our readers quality product, not just chucking stuff out there just to fill up the space, we have been busy working to bring you a healthy mix of news reporting, political analysis and most recently, the best of interviews with newsmakers in Ohio, including our plan to offer a rare penetrating peep into the life, career and thinking of the men and women who represent the Ohio African-American community in the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate.
We have been putting all of this together and the result is something that has never been done before, certainly not to our knowledge. And that is, Ike Mgbatogu, the Call & Post and Onumba.com columnist will be sitting down with each member of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC), in a wide-raging, meaty conversation over a gallimaufry of subjects including their background, politics, faith, future plans, their dreams and aspirations growing up. The lawmakers will also discuss a miscellany of other issues including diversity and inclusion, their heroes, their views on Malcolm X, what they think about Africa; whether they have been there or even care to go.
The parley on politics and government will navigate the shoals of party partisanship as it interfaces with the anfractuosity of governance, where each member will tell us what they make of Gov. Kasich, his first 100 days in office, his policies, and his support for controversial Senate Bill 5, House Bill 1, and the $55.6 billion biannual budget. They will tell us whether they have met the governor one-on-one and how that played out, obviously, mindful of the frosty and tumultuous nature of the relationship between Kasich and members of the caucus.
So, the next time you see Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard, who recently had her one-on-one with Ike, fighting and defending programs for the poor, the middle-class and the minority communities, think of her as an intensely progressive politician who, believe it or not, never planned to be in politics, but rather, was earlier in her life on a confident trajectory to become a ballet dancer, an actress and a singer, the “next Lena Horne,” if you will.
Also, think of her as a profoundly devoted public servant who was born in Chattanooga, Tenn., (not in Akron where she grew up) with a Godfather from Nigeria, friends in Ghana and a ferocious desire to travel the African continent she holds exceedingly dear as her beloved ancestral home.
The full interview of each member will appear each week in the Call & Post Newspaper, with intriguing excerpts posted here in Onumba.com that week, and then the full interview the week after.
All told, expect a landfill of information from this.
Rep. Heard’s ‘one-on-one with Ike Mgbatogu’ is on this week’s Call & Post issue.
Now, having said all that, it is quite possible there are some folks (and there’s no rosy way to say this) who may be totally oblivious to all of this, or may not even know who their representative are, or perhaps belong to a phalanx of the politically aloof crowd who take the work of these legislators for granted.
But just so all of you know, the 15 members of the OLBC are collectively, without a doubt, the loudest and most effective voice of the Black community in Ohio government. With a commendable mix of diligence and vigor, they form a plexus of relentless bulwark and cathead of minority vigilance fighting back a tide of legislative proposals they believe to be hostile and baneful to the interest of the Black community.
In short, without this covey of folks, African-Americans could be the first to be “run over” by that proverbial “bus” that tough talking Kasich talked about shortly after he took office.
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