Hello family and friends! Thank you for joining me on this wonderful day at this exquisitely beautiful Mt. Echo Park. I am humbled that you were able to come at this very difficult moment for our county and for our country. As you all know, because of the Coronavirus, group gatherings have been limited to no more than 10 individuals. We empathize with those who have been confirmed to have the virus and we are grateful though that there are no cases confirmed in Hamilton County. We hope that our residents will stay healthy and safe. Thank you all for being here.
Well, the views of Downtown Cincinnati behind us are dramatic and majestic. We are in Price Hill, in Hamilton County’s greenest neighborhood. Look at the beautiful woods in front of us! Look at the Ohio River to my left — the Good River according to the Seneca people. It was President Thomas Jefferson said, “the Ohio River is the most beautiful river on earth. Its current gentle, its waters clear, its bosom smooth, and unbroken by rocks and rapids”. Ladies, gentlemen… kids, …this is a great neighborhood. Bravo Price Hill! Bravo Hamilton County!
Before I continue, I must say Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you. I see a few of you here in green 😊. I say “Good luck to all of you”! A toast to my Friends of Najoli team who worked so hard to set up here. A toast to the five friends who formed the nominating committee for my petition to be a candidate for public office. A toast to more than 9,000 residents of Hamilton County who signed my petitions to be on the ballot. So today, March 17th, 2020, I stand here at historic Mt. Echo Park, to announce that I will be on the General Election ballot on November 3rd as the first independent candidate to ever appear on the ballot for County Commissioner! BIG Cheers to all of you! Cheers everybody!
Para mis amigos Hispanos. Mi nombre es Herman Najoli. Me postulo para Comisionado del Condado. ¡Muchos de ustedes firmaron mi petición y les digo gracias! Por favor votar por mí el tercero de Noviembre. Gracias!
Now, I may not have lived in Hamilton County as long as the others who are competing (or were supposed to compete) in the Primary today, (which has been pushed over to June 2nd) but I will tell you that I was the very first one to pick up petitions in April of 2019. It took me this long to announce because Independents are required to submit more than 30 times the number of signatures that party candidates are required to submit! Just yesterday, I was informed by the Board of Elections that I was the only Independent who submitted signatures to be on the ballot. So, I will be certified at the next Board of Elections meeting. Our campaign has turned in the greatest number of signatures by any individual running for office in the entire history of Hamilton County! More than 9000 signatures!
Friends, I am ready to serve. I have already been a public servant for so many years in the education and nonprofit sectors. For 230 years our county has never had an independent on the ballot for Commissioner. Which is surprising because it is a non-partisan role. We submitted our signatures on a symbolic 230 pages to signify the 230-year history of Hamilton County without an Independent on the ballot. Now, my campaign does not have the funding that the other candidates have already amassed, but we will run a campaign that is remarkable. We may not have the connections or machinery that the other candidates have, but we have each other! Will we run a perfect campaign? You betcha! But it would help us to heed the words of Alexander Hamilton, whom our county is named after. He said, “I never expect to see a perfect work from an imperfect man”.
Well, you can tell from my accent that I was neither born in this great neighborhood nor raised in this marvelous country. I was not educated in any of the fine institutions of this superb city. Many of you know that I am originally from LA …, (I got ya, right?) LA, to me, means Lower Africa. You see, I am originally from Kenya which is in the lower hemisphere of Africa.
Hey, I came to the US about 20 years ago with $140, a small 21-inch suitcase, and a dream. I was an unpaid volunteer leadership intern at an organization in Garden Valley, Texas — called Teen Mania. After my graduation, I proceeded to graduate school at Regent University where I met this lady who is now my wife, the former Danyetta Dawson — now Danyetta Najoli. She is a jewel, so before we graduated, we got married. We lived in Nashville for two years before moving to Omaha, NE where we worked together at Girls and Boys Town as Family Teachers.
In 2007, we moved to Hamilton County. Danyetta is from Harlem, NY and I grew up in Western Kenya. So, naturally we fell in love with the Westside of Cincinnati. For many years we rented a house on McKeone Avenue right here in Price Hill. As transplants to the city, we had no connections here. My children now go to school at St. William in the neighborhood. My wife and I are actively involved in the community. Obviously, she more than I. But we are here together today because we believe that elections are about the future. And as Public Servants we have a role in that future.
Our county is on a journey toward being a perfect county. We all know the challenges. Anyone can list innumerable challenges, but the breakthrough is to offer ideas. We have ideas. On my website, I have outlined our ambitious proposal for change in Hamilton County. I have uploaded the 5 planks of our platform and listed the 22 issues that are the bedrock of the movement that we are launching. In the coming months, as we navigate the unprecedented public health crisis that we find ourselves in, I hope to somehow be able to discuss a vision that offers us a common future of prosperity. I have a vision that is deeply rooted in our common quest for excellence. I have a vision of significance that will enable us become a leading county. Ladies, gentlemen, kids… I have a vision for our future! Anyone can download my full platform and issues on my website: www.drnajoli.com. While you are at it, please visit our Facebook page: facebook.com/drnajoliforcommissioner and follow our remarkable campaign on Twitter at Twitter.com/drnajoli.
Hamiltonians, it is time for seismic change. For too many years, we have done the same things and expected different results. I know it will not be easy to follow in the footsteps of the late Todd Portune, but I promise you that I will work smartly. Over 9,000 residents have already signed my petitions and I hope that all of Hamilton County’s voters will vote for me. I humbly acknowledge the words of President Martin Van Buren. He said, “I tread in the footsteps of illustrious men… in receiving from the people the sacred trust confided to my illustrious predecessor”. Friends, may you, over the next few months, realize that I am indeed worthy to serve as County Commissioner. May you realize that I am indeed worthy to tread in the footsteps of the long list of predecessors who have served as Commissioners before me. Thank you for your support.
My good friends, let us do new things in Hamilton County. It is time to move forward from a partisan past and elect an Independent. It is time to create policies that enable us to be first. It is time to shape a future in which we will lead as a beacon of light for other counties in Ohio. It is time for us to be a pre-eminent county in the entire United States. As your County Commissioner, I will solve big problems. As your Commissioner, I will advance high-level goals. As your County Commissioner, I will provide deeply inspiring leadership.
Friends, I will not favor any party’s agenda. I will not show loyalty to any special interests. I will not keep looking in the rear-view mirror. I will not repeat the mistakes of the past. You and I know that there is so much in our past that we do not want to see repeated in Hamilton County. Neighbors… friends… we cannot move forward if we keep holding onto the failures of yesterday. We cannot be first if we keep looking to past politicians. We cannot lead if we keep following exhausted ideas.
It is time to embrace change in Hamilton County. Let us turn the page! Let us turn the page to a future that is fast rushing toward us! President John F. Kennedy turned the page and said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future”. Let us turn the page from a past of career politicians. Let us turn the page from a present that leaves us wondering why we keep doing the same things over and over again yet expect different results. Let us ask what we can do our county, not what our county has done for us. Let us embrace the future!
Friends, I want us to MOVE FORWARD, to BE FIRST, and to LEAD. Take a look at my platform on www.drnajoli.com. Download your copy, and share it with neighbors and friends. Our campaign metaphor is a five-legged table. We will be bringing this table to a zip-code near you.
Our message to the county is, “Come to the Table”. We want everyone to come to the table. We are inclusive. Inclusiveness means working in a very bi-partisan way and that is why I am running as the first-ever Independent. I will be non-partisan. We’ve all seen how partisanship separates individuals who should sit together at the table. As a non-partisan candidate, I am a Uniter and will work in cooperation and partnership with others to resolve the big problems that we face. At our five-legged table, the big message is that you can take away the four legs, but this table will still stand on that one middle leg — the stump! We may not agree on all things, but everyone gets a slice at the table. President Truman said, “You know that being an American is more than a matter of where your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal and that everyone deserves an even break.”
My fellow Hamiltonians, we will focus on Big Ideas. The biggest idea that I offer is ending the gridlock that exists between the City of Cincinnati and the County government of Hamilton. I have a proposal whose time has come. Victor Hugo said, “An invasion of armies may be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come”. As County Commissioner, I will labor tirelessly for ideas that expedite the future that is rushing toward us. I like the future. I want the future. My children are the reason that I entered into this race. I believe in the future of our county and I want them to thrive in that future. Our children, yours and mine, are our priorities. Any goal, any vision, any idea that we ever come up with, should always start with a consideration of how they will impact the future of our children.
Today, at Mt. Echo Park, we are announcing a campaign that will echo with a message of possibility. May this call for change echo throughout Cincinnati and the 49 jurisdictions that make up Hamilton County. From Price Hill to Indian Hill, may this echo resonate. From the far East edges of Terrace Park to the far West reaches of White Water Park, may our echo resound. From the far north county borders of Springdale to the far southern tip of the Central Business District, may our echo ring out. From the village of Springdale to the village of Glendale, we want people to come to the table! It is time for a seismic change! From Golf Manor to Green Township. From Anderson to Avondale, may the echo of this campaign spread out. From Harrison Township to Sycamore Township. From Blue Ash to White Oak. From Oakley to Over-the-Rhine. It is time for change! We want our neighbors from Norwood to Kenwood, from Westwood to Woodlawn, from Sedamsville to Sharonville, from Bridgetown to Finneytown, to all come to the table. Friends, may the echo of our voices be the generational call that brings seismic change to Hamilton County.
Hamiltonians, we are not where we need to be. But we can get there very quickly. I’m asking you to trust me. I’m asking you to support me. I’m asking you to join my campaign. I’m asking you to stand with me. And I’m asking you to vote for me for County Commissioner on November 3rd, 2020.
Join me in this adventure. Invite others to join us. I don’t have a political machine. I don’t have any of the last names that you are used to seeing on the ballot. I don’t have the kind of money that we hear politicians claim to have raised. In fact, we just designated a treasurer three weeks ago, so I invite you all to join Friends of Najoli at PayPal.Me/FriendsofNajoli. More than 9,000 residents signed my petitions and told me that anything is possible. Obviously, it will be very hard. But I have the greatest of friends,… you! It was hard to get all the signatures required of an independent candidate. But the words of the late Kobe Bryant inspired me. Kobe said, “May you always remember to enjoy the road, especially when it’s a hard one”.
So, yes! The road to the Portune Center for County Government will not be easy. But, you and I — we together — will enjoy the road. Like my Irish friends would say today on St. Paddy’s Day, “May the road rise to meet us!” Our best days are ahead of us Friends of Najoli! Hamilton County, …join us! Let us move forward, be first, and lead.
Recently, a good friend of mine at St. William parish said to me, “It’s Herman time”. I approve that message, but I also realize that it is you time. This is our time! It is our time to say that the ordinary person matters. It is our time to say that underdogs sure can fight and claw out the greatest victory in the 230-year history of Hamilton County. As I stand here today, it is exactly 230 days to the General Election of November 2020. We will run a 230-day campaign that is remarkable. Let us move forward with humility, empathy, resilience, maturity, authenticity, and niceness. Please, join me as we move forward with Herman. It is our time! It is our time to pursue good! I stand here today by the Good River, the Ohio River, urging you to join me in pursuing a common good!
Thank you all. God bless you. God bless Hamilton County, the State of Ohio, and the United States of America! Thank you everybody!