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Unusual Voices


When I became OTSE’s first full time Executive Director, we were in the throes of regular executions. We showed up at the Statehouse when we had something to say. Our spokespersons were the “usual suspects” when it comes to opponents of the death penalty – clergy, lawyers, protesters. But we didn’t have very much impact.

A lot has changed. OTSE has changed. Your voice as an Ohioan to Stop Executions is louder and stronger because of the unexpected voices who have joined our efforts. We are making an impact. Because of you and our strategic work together these past few years, we are seeing moments once unimaginable:

On Thursday in Dayton, Miami Valley OTSE hosted a forum featuring a criminal defense attorney, two murder victims family members, and former Governor Bob Taft.  Bob Taft? Yes, the former Governor who executed 24 Ohio prisoners. He’s not ready to say he is totally against the death penalty yet, but he’s got “growing concerns,” and he’s ready to do something about it.  Watch the video of his remarks, and then share it.

On Saturday, the OTSE Board of Directors elected two new members: Jim and Nancy Petro. 19 Ohio prisoners were executed while Jim was Ohio’s Attorney General. Nancy has always opposed the death penalty, and she’s been working on Jim. Now they are helping to lead us. Jim recently spoke out on behalf of OTSE in the Columbus Dispatch.

So now it’s up to all of us to amplify these voices. Here’s three things you can do:

  1. Share the news: Forward this e-mail to a few friends and family members and encourage them to watch the video and read the op-ed. Go to OTSE’s Facebook and Twitter pages and share our posts about these new voices on your own social media platforms.
  2. Call Governor Kasich at 614-466-3555. Simply leave a message saying that you heard there will be an attempt to bring the gas chamber to Ohio as a new form of executions, and let him know what you think about that.  (A mistake. A terrible idea. It will cast Ohio in a negative light…)
  3. Help OTSE prepare to amplify all of our voices – both old and new – in the lame duck session following the election. We have bills to pass and bills to stop. You’ll hear more about this soon. Right now, your investment in OTSE (tax-deductible) or the OTSE Action Fund (not deductible) will help us be ready.

OTSE is moving into a critical period of time. The threat of executions resuming is very real. And so is the potential for progress on our issue. I’m honored to work with you and for you. Together we are making the difference.

Kevin Werner
Executive Director, Ohioans to Stop Executions


P.S. We know what Ohio prosecutors want—the gas chamber as Ohio’s new execution method. Help us make certain that never, ever happens in our great state. Your monthly investment allows OTSE to build a powerful voice for ending executions in Ohio.

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