Chair leaves Democratic board

The chairman of the Seneca County Democratic Party Executive Committee announced his resignation at a meeting Thursday evening.

Chairman Tom Smathers said he is stepping down effective May 9, and he is to be succeeded by Mary Puffenberger.

“I think it’s time for a new person to come in and that will be Mary (Puffenberger),” he said. “I think she’s got a bunch of wonderful ideas and she will serve our group well. I just have too many things going on right now. I’m certainly not giving up; I’m not going away, as far as being a member of this group.”

Bill Young, who ran for state representative last November, was a guest at the meeting and said Smathers “was a wonderful chair and he will be missed.”

The committee also spoke about ways it can recruit more Democratic candidates for future elections.

Young, who is chair of the candidate recruitment committee of Sandusky Democratic Party, said it is hard to find people who want to run because it is difficult, especially against an incumbent.

He said it is important to find candidates to challenge Republican incumbents.

Young said the party should not rely on the Ohio Democratic Party to find local candidates to run for office, and that members of the county party committee should find good people they know.

“I firmly believe we need to be proactive and say ‘These are the people we want to run,'” he said.

Also during the meeting, the committee discussed potential Right to Work legislation in the state and Ohio Senate Bill 47.

Smathers said the Ohio Democratic Party is opposed to Senate Bill 47, which he said would make it more difficult for citizens to gather signatures for petitions for referendums.

Smathers said the bill’s passage could set up Right to Work legislation for the ballot.

Commitee member Dean Henry said he interested to see the language on potential Right to Work legislation, and he said he thinks Ohio’s legislation would mimic Indiana’s.

“If we don’t take a stance against that, we got no business being here,” he said. “It’s worker freedom all right freedom to be absolutely without any benefits, without any job security, it’s really free. You’re as free as a guy living under a bridge, that’s what it amounts to.”

In other business, the committee nominated Joe Granata and Marguerite Bernard to the Seneca County Democratic Hall of Fame, which recognizes Democrats whose work for the party has “gone above and beyond,” Smathers said.

Granata served on Tiffin City Council for 16 years, and Bernard was the county treasurer for several terms, Smathers said.

“They’ve done so much for the party and the community,” he said.

The committee also approved a motion to not have a booth at the county fair.

Young also asked the committee to consider combining with the Sandusky Democratic Party for the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner.