Hi, I'm Damon Krane -- a lifelong grassroots organizer for social justice with 25 years of experience winning positive change. I'm running as an independent for Athens City Council At-Large to create a more just, democratic, and equitably prosperous community!
During the past two years, Athens City Council has come up with some strange “solutions.” Council’s solution to unaffordable housing? Build more expensive homes. Council’s solution to local poverty? Entice wealthier people to move here. Council’s solution to racial injustice? Empty gestures and broken promises. Council's solution to pretty much anything? Whatever the mayor and party leaders tell Council to do.
Council members usually vote unanimously without discussing alternatives. Council routinely breaks its own rules to eliminate opportunity for public comment. Local party leaders take power away from voters by working to prevent competitive elections. Voter turnout is so low that our most popular city officeholders are elected with the support of only 10% of eligible city voters. Our democracy has become a farce.
I believe it’s time for a change — and I’m not the only one. In the past 10 months we’ve seen one local leader after another either being shown the door or clamoring to jump ship. The only incumbent Council member to be challenged in the May primary election was voted out of office by a stunning 30-point margin. Three more incumbent Council members decided to not seek re-election. Two of them resigned before their terms were even up! Meanwhile, the mayor eyed a run for Congress, which, if successful, would have resulted in him leaving office halfway through his term. Even at Ohio University, former president Duane Nellis resigned two years before his contract expired.
Athens has never seen such an exodus of incumbents — and it gives us the opportunity to send the status quo packing, too!
Come January 2022 a majority of Council will be new. At least 4 of 7 regular voting members will be different people than the folks elected in 2019. Sarah Grace is the only elected incumbent left in the at-large Council race. Along with now-vanquished councilmember Chris Fahl, Grace has been the driving force behind Council’s strange “solutions” — including a so-called “affordable housing” initiative to publicly subsidize luxury homebuying. If Grace becomes the latest incumbent to be voted out this November, the number of new Council members will increase to 5!
With new faces and new ideas, we can finally turn over a new leaf. We can correct what’s gone wrong these past few years. We can model for other communities a positive alternative to the growing Republican control of our state. We can become the progressive city we claim to be.
As a dedicated community organizer with a 25-year track record of consistently fighting for –and often winning– positive change, I believe I’m the best candidate to lead Council in a new and better direction. In just the past 2 years, without even being a member of Council, I’ve already got Council to pass its most pro-tenant legislation in decades, held city officials’ feet to the fire on racial equity, and helped bring about the most diverse and representative Council yet. I can do much more if elected.
As an unapologetic democratic socialist, my values are in tune with the same Athens, Ohio that voted 63% for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary. As an independent, I don’t owe anything to the party leaders and major donors responsible for our city’s status quo. I’ve never been in this for myself. I’ve always put social responsibility first. And I’ve never been afraid to rock the boat to do what’s right.
*Paid for by The Committee to Elect Damon Krane