Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nina Turner's future bright due to gutsy stand on Issue 6

Nina Turner hammered home a lesson recently to freshmen at Cleveland's John F. Kennedy High School, her alma mater.

The state senator's grandmother once told her she needed three things to be successful in life: a wishbone, a jawbone and a backbone. The first was for hoping and setting goals, the second for speaking out, and the third for persevering, no matter how tough the challenge.

Cuyahoga County witnessed that anatomy in action this election season, when Turner risked her career to get behind Issue 6, a government reform initiative that her elders in the black Democratic establishment pressured her to avoid.

Voters approved the measure in a landslide, and Turner, propelled largely by her gutsy yet winning decision, has emerged as the region's "it" politician of the moment -- a mantle that provokes no shortage of speculation.

Will she run for county executive, the new and powerful position she campaigned to create? Will she, as one old friend has predicted, be the first black woman to be elected mayor of Cleveland? There are plenty of options for Turner, who overcame a childhood that produced the lowest of expectations and today finds herself looking at a menu of much loftier ones.

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