Congresswoman Marcia Fudge Takes Gavel as Democratic National Convention Chair
by Nick Castele
U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Warrensville Heights is serving as Democratic National Convention permanent chair this week, gaveling sessions open and closed.
Fudge took the gavel Monday afternoon, speaking over a booing and cheering crowd.
The Northeast Ohio congresswoman has served as a national voice for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Fudge endorsed Clinton a year ago, and campaigned for her in Iowa and South Carolina. She appeared on cable TV to promote the Democratic presidential candidate and was a critic of Clinton’s primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Congresswoman Fudge’s district is the key district in the state of Ohio,” said Lynnie Powell with the Ohio Democratic Party. “You can’t win Ohio without winning Cuyahoga County, and you can’t win Cuyahoga County without winning the 11th Congressional District.”
It’s the most Democratic district in the state, sending more delegates to the convention than any other in Ohio. President Obama won the 11th with more than 80 percent of the vote twice, according to the Cook Political Report.
The district includes the east side of Greater Cleveland and the west side of Akron—many of Northeast Ohio’s African-American communities.
Powell said the appointment puts the focus on a constituency whose support will be critical to the Clinton campaign: African-American women.
Karen Beckwith, the chair of the political science department at Case Western Reserve University, said there’s a symbolic power in “having a black woman who is a member of Congress, a former mayor of Warrensville [Heights], Ohio, chairing on a day-to-day basis the work of the Democratic National Convention….Black women are the most loyal voting bloc in the Democratic Party.”
Fudge succeeded the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones in 2008, and won reelection most recently in 2014.