Jennifer Brunner Returns to Spotlight With Launch of PAC




Former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner promised that we hadn’t heard the last of her when she left office in January. Now she’s fulfilled her promise with the launch of her Courage PAC. The online and real-world organizing tool aims to harness the energy of the passionate base of grassroots supporters she built while running in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate (she lost to Lee Fisher, who eventually lost to Republican Rob Portman in November) to be a voice for progressive issues at a time when state government and the U.S. House of Representatives are controlled by conservative Republicans.

“It gives me a chance to do advocacy for issues I care about,” says Brunner, “And it give my followers an outlet for things they want to do. It will allow us to shadow and comment on things happening in state and federal government.”

Brunner says Courage PAC will focus on four areas: financial reform and foreclosure, election reform, general government issues, and what she calls “everyday courage” — a section that will spotlight ordinary people who have done something outstanding.

She’s kicking it off with an area she knows well: election reform. Her first project is to draft an Ohio constitutional amendment dealing with redistricting, a thorny issue that sees whichever party controls the elected offices that serve on the apportionment board every ten years able to slice and dice state districts for decade-long electoral advantage. Both parties introduced bills in the last legislative session to make the process fairer, but weren’t able to come to an agreement. Brunner says her amendment is based on the Republican plan — a challenge for them to support it now that they control redrawing district lines.

“I met with the Democratic county chairs to ask them to get the 1,000 signatures we need to take it to the attorney general to approve the ballot language,” says Brunner. “We hope to get them to him the first part of March.” After that, volunteers that sign up at will be enlisted to get the more than 400,000 signatures needed to put the amendment on the November ballot.

“Hopefully people will see it as something refreshing,” says Brunner of Courage PAC. “I don’t want people to be disillusioned. The idea is to get them understanding that when we talk in unison on issues we care about, it will make a difference.” — Anastasia Pantsios

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