Nickie Antonio, Martin Sweeney Fielded Questions About Sexual Harassment at Lakewood Democratic Club Event Last Week

click to enlarge Nickie Antonio addresses the Lakewood Democratic Club (3/29/18). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
Sam Allard / Scene
Nickie Antonio addresses the Lakewood Democratic Club (3/29/18).
The assembled crowd at the Lakewood Democratic Club event last week, where gubernatorial candidates Richard Cordray and Dennick Kucinich were the headliners, had no trepidation whatsoever about asking tough questions.

Cordray's first three in his Q&A were directly or indirectly related to guns. My assumption at the time was that the crowd was picking on him, exposing his primary weakness, but the same questions were asked of Dennis. Gun legislation truly seems to be something people are hungry for. (Thanks, students.)

But when Nickie Antonio and Marty Sweeney, candidates for State Senate District 23, fielded questions, a man asked Nickie about the #MeToo movement.

"We've seen a lot of people on the other side of the aisle do some pretty atrocious things and say some atrocious things," he said, "and even people within our own party. How would you continue to fight for women in the state of Ohio?"

Antonio gave a measured response, speaking of her involvement on a bi-partisan congressional task force dealing with sexual harassment, arguing that the level of professionalism had to be raised at the statehouse. She said the rights of her colleagues and her constituents had to be "not only respected, but protected."

click to enlarge Martin Sweeney addresses the Lakewood Democratic Club (3/29/18), - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
Sam Allard / Scene
Martin Sweeney addresses the Lakewood Democratic Club (3/29/18),
The question appeared to be a not-so-subtle reference to Sweeney's misconduct on Cleveland City Council. (The city paid to settle a Sweeney harassment claim in 2007). And indeed, immediately after Antonio finished and the applause died down, a woman raised a piece of paper and pointed it at Sweeney: "Mr. Sweeney, how do you feel about what she just said?"

"How do I want to answer this," Sweeney said, approaching the mic. "What she said? 100 percent accurate. Some work's going to be done at the Statehouse. We're gonna be fully supportive of it, as I have been. And if you want to go in depth on other topics, I'm happy to talk to you."

"Hashtag MeToo," the woman said, knowingly.

"Excuse me?"

"Hashtag MeToo!"

"Okay..." Sweeney, now deeply uncomfortable. "Okay, that was fun."

It was not the first time Sweeney dashed from a podium.

About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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