Her Candid Interview About Life, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Tomorrow!
This is an exclusive in-depth interview that Journalist Walter Yeates conducted with Former Ohio State Senator, Senator Bernie Sanders surrogate, and current Our Revolution Board Member, Nina Turner.
Early Career in Public Service
“What you are seeking is seeking you” — a popular quote Turner mentioned spur-of-the-moment when asked what motivated her to run for office. “I never saw myself running for office, but as my life began to unfold and I had different exposure, I saw the power of public policy and what strong, committed people, especially strong personalities, could really do with the bully pulpit — to both push policy and make a difference in the lives of individuals.”
Turner served in the cabinet of Cleveland Mayor, Michael R. White, in 1999 and was the Director of Government Affairs for the Cleveland Municipal School District shortly thereafter. In 2001, Turner made an unsuccessful run for the Cleveland City Council, yet would later win her second bid for the city council in 2005.
Her time in office and her life experiences played a key role in molding her worldview and developing her political philosophy.
Former Ohio State Senator Turner tells Paul Jay that in defeating Keith Ellison as DNC Chair, the leadership has chosen to maintain the dominance of big donors and reject the progressive wing of the party.
PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.
Tom Perez beat Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison for the DNC Chair in a vote held last Saturday in Atlanta, Georgia. Perez, who served as President Obama's Labor Secretary won by a thin margin, only 35 votes out a 435 vote total. Following his victory, Perez appointed Ellison his Deputy DNC Chair, though according to the intercept, this is not an official position in the party's bylaws.
Perez was an outspoken supporter for Clinton during the primaries while Ellison was a vocal backer of Sanders. The race came to signify the conflict between the establishment and progressive wings of the Democratic Party. During the campaign, Perez was criticized for representing the faction of the party that's unwilling to break with its Wall Street alliance, while Ellison was hit by a smear campaign spearheaded by Democratic Party donor Haim Saban.
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Okay were live on the Real News Network in downtown Philadelphia. This is Paul Jay and Im in the car with Danny Glover. Activist and actor. This is Danny. Are we seeing Danny?
So were on our way to the media pavilion at the Wells Fargo Center where the Democratic Convention is taking place there dealing with Nina Turner whos going to speak, Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, and others. Ninas going to explain what happened to her at the Democratic National Convention. She was--as far as we know right now, as best we know, Nina was supposed to nominate Bernie Sanders and at the last minute was toldBernie Sanders had to say, that she couldnt. Were going to get the whole story when we get to the press conference. What the press conference is about is in support of Nina Turner. Nina Turner of course is a surrogate, is an actor but was also campaigning for Bernie Sanders throughout the whole primary campaign. As a former senator from Ohio and some people are even talking about her as a possible presidential nominee or candidate in 2020.
On Saturday more than 1,000 protesters will rally outside a Nissan assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, a demonstration that is the culmination of years of corporate policy intended to dissuade workers from unionizing. Marching alongside employees, activists, and politicians alike will be Nina Turner, the Democratic leader and former Ohio state senator who has spent decades advocating for everyday Americans. During her time in the Ohio Senate, Turner fought for legislation that would level the playing field for women and men—including introducing the “Viagra bill,” which would subject men to the same scrupulous levels of regulations women face over their reproductive choices—and her dedication has continued into her postlegislative role.
The Canton plant first opened in 2003, and Mississippi residents hoped it would be a boon to their local economy. Though Nissan says the factory has added $2.9 billion each year to the state’s economy, and created 25,000 jobs, the state still remains the poorest in the nation, and workers have spent nearly a decade and a half fighting for better conditions and fairer treatment. The Japanese automaker is currently facing fines at several of its U.S. plants for safety violations—including the one in Canton—and workers say the company has tried to hinder their attempts to join the United Automobile Workers union (it doesn’t help that Mississippi is a right-to-work state, meaning the law gives workers the option not to join a union, or allows them not to pay union dues if they do). And because 80 percent of the plant’s employees are African American, protesters argue that not only is it a fairness and safety issue—the plant’s difficult relationship with its workers is a civil rights one.
Former State Senator Nina Turner (OH-D) is one of the most engaging, inspiring, dynamic and feisty progressive leaders out there. Turner made headlines as a state senator for her creative and spunky legislating, including her 2012 bill that sought to apply the invasive, infantilizing and humiliating laws that controlled women’s bodies to men. Under SB 307, doctors would need to warn patients in writing about the potential health risks of medication treating erectile dysfunction and would require a notarized affidavit from at least one sexual partner confirming the sexual disorder. Stress tests and psychological counseling would be mandated before and after the administration of the medication. But Turner took the nation by storm in November 2015 when she announced she was switching her support from Hillary Clintonand became a national surrogate for Senator Bernie Sanders.
On a grey Saturday afternoon, former Bernie Sanders surrogate Nina Turner addressed an assembled crowd in front of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., calling on them to act in the spirit of the civil rights leader and take inspiration from his struggle for the fight ahead.
Former Ohio state Senator Nina Turner, who became a national cable news star as a top surrogate for Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, will be speaking in St. Petersburg in March.
The 49-year-old Cleveland native served on the Cleveland City Council from 2005-2008. She resigned her seat that year to accept an appointment to the Ohio Senate in 2008. She won a full term in 2010, before losing a contest for Ohio Secretary of State in 2014.
I guess since we’re already dreaming about our progressive savior taking the presidency back in 2020, it’s okay that we begin thinking about which Bernicrats we can elect in the 2018 election too.
A growing movement to get Turner to run for governor is being led by progressive Berniecrats who have created “Turn Ohio Around,” a play on Turner’s name. Many in the state who worked for the Sanders campaign have jumped onboard this new project, inching toward fundraising for Turner as their next step.