By Joe Hallett
No hostility in first joint gathering of four candidates.
There were no attacks, no cheap shots, not even a hint of innuendo.
The four Democrats running to represent the 3rd Congressional District tackled the issues, not one another, yesterday in their inaugural joint appearance of the truncated campaign for the new seat.
Fireworks were not expected. The candidates, after all, are friends. But the respective 10-minute presentations delivered to the Third Friday Luncheon club, an association of local Democrats, marked the first opportunity for the four candidates to gather in the same room and make their pitches.
About 100 were on hand at the River Club at Confluence Park to hear Joyce Beatty, Ted Celeste, Mary Jo Kilroy and Priscilla Tyson. Whoever is nominated at the March 6 primary will be favored to win the seat in November in an overwhelmingly Democratic district wholly contained in Franklin County.
Here, in order of their presentations, is a sampling of the candidates appeals to the assembled Democrats:
Her experience as an Ohio State University vice president, state representative, county welfare director and owner of a Downtown clothing store have provided her with an understanding of issues important to diverse groups of people in the district, Beatty said.
As the first female minority leader of the Ohio House, Beatty, 61, said she worked with union members and small-business owners to create jobs: I am a small-business person. I know what its like to have to make a payroll.
A stroke survivor, Beatty said she has been a leader on womens health issues and knows firsthand the importance of a social safety net.
My mother is still living, and every day she talks to me about the value of Medicare and she talks to me about the value of Social Security.
Beatty said she helped students prepare to make better economic decisions by sponsoring a bill requiring financial literacy to be taught as part of the social-studies curriculum.
Her travels across the globe, Beatty said, have given her an understanding of the international issues that Congress must face. My track record, she said, matches what will be expected in Washington.
Working in the banking and health-care industries, as the leader of a nonprofit youth employment program and as a member of the Columbus City Council, Tyson said she has shown her devotion to Columbus.
I have 35 years of leadership service to this community, she said. I am the only candidate who was born and raised in this community and have been serving this community my entire adult life.
During 16 years with a local bank, Tyson, 56, said she spearheaded efforts to build houses on the East Side, and as the first African-American vice president of Ohio Health, she made sure that we were serving the needs of the entire community.
Tyson said that her work as chairwoman of the councils finance committee and for the National League of Cities has helped her understand what the issues are from a Republican side and the Democratic side in cities across the country.
I want to go to Congress because I do understand how federal dollars affect our local community in a major way, Tyson said.
Our president needs me. He does, he absolutely does. He needs people who understand how to work together to make change occur.
Mary Jo Kilroy
Having represented the 15th Congressional District from 2009 to 11, Kilroy, 62, said she took pride in supporting President Barack Obamas efforts to revive the economy, shore up the banking system and expand health-care coverage.
Three years ago yesterday, Kilroy said, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act began pumping $787billion into the economy, creating and preserving 3million jobs nationally, including keeping teachers, firefighters and police officers on the job in central Ohio.
I was proud to be part of that effort, Kilroy said.
She also supported the Affordable Care Act, which permitted people with pre-existing conditions to buy health insurance, allowed children to be covered longer by their parents health insurance, and helped senior citizens pay for prescription drugs. Kilroy said she was proud that Contraception was included as part of womens essential health care, and we need to protect that.
Kilroy said she also stood up for consumers by supporting creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to make sure that consumers are protected from Wall Street abuses, from credit-card abuses ... and that Wall Street could not take our economy over a cliff again.
Describing himself as a progressive Democrat with a little independent streak in me, Celeste said he decided to run for state representative in 2006 after watching the destruction of our political process and feeling very frustrated with it.
Much of his energy, Celeste said, is devoted to working across the partisan divide sometimes against the wishes of his own partys leaders.
If we dont change how we deal with each other politically, were in serious trouble, said Celeste, 66, a member of the Ohio House and a Grandview Heights real-estate broker.
Celeste said he worked with Republicans to enact a bill creating a pilot program for screening and testing for dyslexia and Tens of thousands of children will benefit as a result of that bill.
He also said that, even though the GOP controls all of state government, he is gaining supporters in his effort to repeal the death penalty: Its a passionate concern of mine, and I believe the dialogue has changed.
But Celeste decried the war on women he said was being perpetrated by majority Republicans in the legislature, vowing to stand up for womens rights in Congress.