Self-policing is a key toward restoring trust in the police department following a series of shootings involving young black men, says former state Sen. Nina Turner. She sat on a task force that recommended in a report to Gov. John Kasich that police agencies have greater accountability and oversight. PHOTO BY JIM OTTE

Senator who asked lawmakers to ‘grow a pair’ could run for governor

Group is pushing Nina Turner to run for Ohio governor in 2018.

When asked if she is interested in running for governor in 2018, Turner said: “I am excited for our state and this country that the progressives are organizing for a better future, especially our young adults.”

Turner has support of the progressive left wing of the Democratic party. Turner served as a prominent surrogate for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and frequently appears on MSNBC as a political analyst.

RELATED: Nina Turner backing Bernie Sanders

She served in the Ohio Senate from September 2008 through the end of 2014 and ran unsuccessfully against Republican Jon Husted for secretary of state in 2014.

Turner built a national following with her speeches about the rights of workers, women and impoverished Ohioans. In 2012 she made national headlines when she introduced a bill to regulate Viagra prescriptions similar to how GOP-backed bills suggested regulating abortion and women’s reproductive health.

Turner grew up the oldest of seven children raised by a single mother in Cleveland and was the first in her family to earn a college degree. She now teaches African American history, urban studies and political science at Cuyahoga Community College.

“We need a strong woman like Nina Turner to lead Ohio to greatness. We need a person who is passionate and has a proven record to make positive change,” said Billie Mays, organizer of the Cincinnati Women’s March, in a written release that announced a series of “draft Nina” meetings across the state.

RELATED: Turner turns down VP slot on Green Party ticket

Turner got her start in politics as an intern for the Legislative Services Commission, a non-partisan state agency, and worked for Democrat Rhine McLin, who served in the Ohio House and Senate and later as Dayton mayor. Turner also served on Cleveland City Council from 2006 to 2008.

In 2013, Turner criticized new requirements on women seeking abortions. In the span of a few minutes during a Senate debate, Turner quoted Robert F. Kennedy, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, ‘The Godfather,’ and the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.

She wrapped up with this doozy: “I would kindly ask that the members of this body grow a pair – ovaries or otherwise. I urge a no vote on this bill.” Watch video of her remarks here.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said Democrats interested in running for governor or other statewide offices will make their plans known in the coming weeks. Among those considering a run are Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former state representative Connie Pillich, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray and others, Pepper said.

On the Republican side, Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor are named as possible candidates.


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