theGrio’s 100: Nina Turner, taking on voter suppression in Ohio

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Senator Nina Turner (OhioSenate.gov)

Senator Nina Turner (OhioSenate.gov)

Who is Nina Turner? 

The Ohio state senator emerged as one of the loudest voices in the country against controversial voting laws advanced by Republicans in her state, which was one of the most important battlegrounds in the 2012 campaign. Turner, 45, represents the Cleveland area, where she  grew up and and later served as a city councilman.

Why is she on theGrio’s 100? 

Ohio was one of the biggest flash points in the various controversies over voting laws and restrictions during the campaign. And Turner was a constant voice, insisting on making sure that it was as easy as possible for people both in Cleveland and throughout the state to vote. She made numerous appearances on MSNBC and other cable news outlets, as well as making her concerns known locally.

“Public officials at all levels have a moral obligation to make it easier to vote, but some of Ohio’s leaders have ignored this responsibility,” she said last year in the midst of the voting controversies.

Ohio state senator Nina Turner wears T-shirt: ‘GOP: Get out of my panties’

Her actions had impact. In the end, public attention and legal decisions forced Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, to abandon many controversial ideas that could have depressed the Obama vote in the Buckeye State, which the president won.

What’s next for Turner? 

Turner could eventually consider a run for the U.S. House or Senate or as Cleveland mayor. But more immediately, she is likely to continue playing a role in elections in 2014 and 2016 in battling Republicans on voting laws.

In 2014, Democrats want to win back the statehouse in Ohio, and Turner could help rally the party’s base to ensure reelection. And in 2016, Ohio is very likely to remain in the spotlight as a battleground state.