In regard to my decision to run for Cincinnati City Council in 2013, I have received two unique questions:
I will take these two questions one at a time for now, and then let them intermingle as we move along.
First – “Why Now?”
The simple and basest answer is because this has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager, and I currently find myself with no employment. As this site used to say in the “About” section, my plan was to run in 2017 with Team Moroski. That plan, initially, was supposed to roll out in 2015 – but, due to Issue 4 (which my wife and I proudly supported), that timeline got pushed back. Now, we find ourselves in this current situation and the timeline has sped up.
God has a funny way of changing our plans, eh?
I remember joking in the Fall of 2012 with my friend & mentor, Laure Quinlivan, about how my support for Issue 4 would mess up my plans for a 2015 council bid, and it was at that point that many people began telling me to run in 2013 instead.
These are the people who ask, “Why Not?”
My response to them last Fall was because I was just getting married, I was serving on three nonprofit boards (two as Chair), I was completing a post-graduate program at the University of Notre Dame, I was researching a new administrative structure for the Archdiocese that would provide more cost effective & efficient services for students, and I was enrolling in a Principal Licensure program at the University of Dayton.
Seemed like a bit too much going on to begin focusing on a political campaign. Above all, I wanted to be able to spend time with my new bride, Katie.
Well, on February 11th, 2013, our life changed drastically. People again began asking me, “Why Not?” My response was simple – because I had absolutely no idea what was going on, I had no stability, I had no job, I had radio stations and news reporters literally blowing up my phone (my contacts imploded and I lost many numbers), and Katie and I had not had a chance to breathe.
That’s when Katie and I went to Toronto to see Bon Jovi (a trip for which we had bought tickets months ago – the timing, however, could not have worked out more perfectly).
In Toronto we relaxed and we rocked to all of Bon Jovi’s hits. Then, on Monday, I had a conversation with a good friend who works in higher education and he proposed a few job possibilities to me. I loved the conversation, but was having a difficult time figuring out why.
And then it hit me! It hit me like a rock between the eyes. For the first time since February 4th, 2013, I was not only thinking outside of the very immediate present, I was talking about my life outside of the very immediate present – in fact, I was talking about the future. I began to feel “normal” again – as if the ground was firming up underneath my feet.
On Tuesday, February 19th, Katie and I attended our friend, Chris Seelbach’s, Campaign Kickoff event at the Moerlein Lager House. It was great to get out and see a whole lot of our friends. We also made many new friends. Overall, it was a beautiful evening.
Chris gave a great speech and said some very nice things about my current situation and my courage. I was humbled. My friend Yvette Simpson said something to me about running this year – “Why Not?”
And then Laure came over to me.
Laure has been an excellent mentor and friend to me for a few years. I have always held her personal, professional and political opinions in high esteem. We had a nice talk, and she said a lot of things that really stuck with me.
Katie and I spoke that evening about running for Council this year. Katie, after all, is the Co-Candidate, and I do not make decisions without consulting her – especially decisions that will change both of our lives in a big way.
The next day, February 20th, I was on 1230 am, The Buzz, with Jeri Tolliver. It was an excellent interview and I had a really nice time. Jeri asked me if I was going to run this year, and I said that I had not made a decision. Jeri, similar to virtually every reporter with whom I have spoken over the course of the past two and a half weeks, asked me what I thought about the people that were saying, “Why Now?” – the people who see my refusal to recant my personal beliefs as some sort of really cheap political ploy to speed up my campaign to 2013.
My answer, like most answers in this post, is quite simple – I would respectfully say to those people that they just don’t know me. And that is alright – I would never tax someone for what or whom they do not know. If these very same people want to take the time to get to know me, excellent – I really like making friends. I feel that they would see that I am not some calculated political opportunist, but rather a man with a deep conviction that our city can be a more equitable and financially solvent place.
So, Jeri then asked me, “Why Not?” She took it one step further and asked me what I thought I brought to City Council that wasn’t already there.
My answer is/was this – relationships, deeply rooted relationships, with the low-income population in the city and the affluent. Relationships built on years of accumulated trust and justice. Relationships born out of working, hand in hand, with those who do not have a voice for 12 very solid years.
This is not to say that the current Councilmembers do not have those relationships – because they do. In fact, I am a huge fan of the majority of Cincinnati’s Councilmembers and many are friends. They all have skill sets that I do not have – and I feel that my education, added to my close connection to many in our city without a voice, would not only benefit the entire city of Cincinnati, but the current Council as well. Much in the same way they would help me to grow as a human being and politician.
After I left The Buzz, I spoke to my brother, Mike Rogers, on my way to WordPlay for a board meeting. Mike asked, as he has for eight years, “Why Not?”
I no longer had an answer, and when Katie and I went to A Tavola for dinner on Wednesday evening we had an excellent conversation.
The end result of this conversation?
I am proud to say that I am officially running for a Cincinnati City Council seat in 2013. If you are interested in helping out in any way, please contact me through this website. If you would like to donate, all checks are to be made payable to “Team Moroski” – for, as I have said elsewhere on this site – this is about something much, much larger than me – it is about all of us coming together to achieve our dreams. It is about the Team.
Lastly, mark your calendars for March 20th at 6 pm. Team Moroski will be having an official Campaign Kickoff event at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse on the 2nd floor. More details to come.
Thank you all who have asked me, “Why Not?,” since I was in college. And for those who still wonder, “Why Now?,” I very much look forward to meeting you and becoming friends.