GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Democratic Party gathered Saturday evening for its annual spring Kennedy Day Dinner in the Quality Inn to recognize friends, new and old, and to prepare for the coming May primary.
Candidate for Ohio’s Fourth District Court of Appeals Valarie Gerlach is making a bid unopposed in the Democratic primary for Ohio. She served as a speaker during the dinner.
“I’m from Scioto County and Portsmouth,” said Gerlach. “I’m running for the Fourth District Court of Appeals which covers 14 counties, Gallia obviously is one of those…I graduated first in my class from law school…After law school, I clerked for a federal district court judge and after that my father was elected the mayor of Portsmouth and he asked me to come back to Portsmouth and take over his practice. I did that and I’ve been there ever since practicing law and representing clients to the best of our ability. The only thing that has changed since I was here (in Gallia) last is that I was elected president of the Scioto County Bar Association.”
Gerlach said as a judicial candidate, one had to avoid speaking on issues or “firing up” or put down others and raise another up.
“All we can say is who we are and what we’ve accomplished while running for office,” said Gerlach. “I would like to see the democratic party be a little more proactive in general. The republicans sometimes plan things years in advance…We see that in my county right now. We had a judge that retired and they have already figured while they still have a republican governor who they’re going to appoint to that position…I’d like to see the democratic party everywhere think more in advance.”
Judge Marie Hoover, the first woman to serve on Ohio’s Fourth District Court of Appeals, took the podium next.
“I don’t know how many people in here are on social media?” said Hoover. “You have to have a certain language to do social media. You have to have hastags and concepts. I have two sons, and they’re 19 and 18. They have their own language. I had to learn it to understand what they’re doing…stalking their social media accounts. I have learned how to do it. As lawyers, we always have to do issue spotting and we have to break it down to a concept. That’s the social media language is. “
Hoover would go on to explain that hashtags connect one idea to another.
“I had to think what is my goal? What do I hashtag?” she said. “I’ve come up to #dosomethingaboutit. I’ve found that’s followed me all though my life. My parents came here from the Philippines in the 1960s. My dad…wanted to make a better life. I was born here in 69. He did something about it and was my role model. You don’t just stay satisfied in where you are and what you’re doing.”
Hoover said she grew up in Pike County. Hoover attended college at Miami University and received her law degree from the Ohio State University. She served as a magistrate for the Portsmouth Municipal Court and as a law director for Waverly and solicitor for Piketon.
“Get out and vote and I’m preaching to the choir sitting here with people who have ideals that are strong,” said Hoover. “What we’ve got to do is get other people.”
Shawna Roberts, running for the US House of Representatives for district six also spoke before the assembled. She cited that several hundred women were running for Congress this year across the country and in Ohio she claimed over half of the congressional districts had women running in races. She encouraged everyday individuals to run for office if they had not because they would get the chance to meet potentially thousands of different individuals and get a chance to “help change the world.” Roberts previously spoke with Gallia Democrats in February.
Gallia County Commissioner Candidate Randy Adkins and Gallia Auditor Candidate Jennifer Sipple spoke briefly to the crowd. Sipple cited experience in sales and as a business owner along with her masters in business administration as being something that provided her with the background to provide something new to the auditor’s office. Adkins has served as a Morgan Township trustee for nearly 20 years. Adkins cited the desire to challenge the opioid epidemic as a commissioner. He said he had been studying Gallia’s problems, acknowledged he could not fix them all, but wanted to make an impact. He claimed that 46 percent of the “county’s budget” went to dealing with the crisis.
Gallia Democratic Party Chairperson Carole Roush honored Ray Matura, John Burnett, Louella Henry, Gallia Board of Elections Director Dale Whitt and Rob Jenkins all with lifetime achievement awards. Roush said this was her last year as the Gallia Democratic chairperson and would be spending more time focusing on family. She said she served in that capacity for the last 16 years and thanked all who supported her through the years.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103