Nina Turner confirmed as Key Note Speaker
Ohio Senator Nina Turner has been confirmed as the Guest Keynote Speaker for the 35th annual, NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner.
Throughout her career in public service – as a legislative aide, a cabinet member in Cleveland Mayor Michael
R. White’s administration, a lobbyist for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, a Cleveland City
Councilmember, a State Senator and a candidate for Secretary of State – Nina Turner has made it her
mission to empower individuals, institutions, and communities to achieve their greatest greatness.
Turner is currently a professor of history at Cuyahoga Community College and Chair of Party Engagement at
the Ohio Democratic Party. In this role, Turner is involved in the planning and implementation of all
political, constituency and issue-based outreach and programming.
At Turner’s urging, Governor Kasich created the Ohio Task Force on Community and Police Relations. Turner
co-chaired the Task Force and now sits on the newly formed Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory
Board –created to develop the first-ever standards for law-enforcement agencies statewide. Turner is a
board member of the Karamu House, the United Way of Greater Cleveland, and the Cleveland Police
Turner’s work ethic, empathy and commitment to public service stem largely from her humble beginnings in
Cleveland, Ohio as the oldest of seven children. Determined to rise above her circumstances and break the
cycle of poverty, Turner worked her way through school earning her Associate of Arts degree from Cuyahoga
Community College and her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from Cleveland State University. In 2013,
Turner received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wilberforce University.
Her career path first led her to Columbus, where she served as a legislative aide in the office of former
State Senator Rhine McLin. She was soon called back to her hometown to work in the administration of
Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White as his Executive Assistant for Legislative Affairs and as the Director of
Government Affairs for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
In 2005, Turner was elected as the first woman to represent Ward 1 on the Cleveland City Council. In 2008,
she was appointed to the vacant 25th District Ohio Senate seat and two years later was elected by her
constituents to continue her service as their voice in Columbus. As a legislator, Turner championed
innovative solutions to critical challenges, sought to promote collaboration and regionalism in local
governance and fought to maintain the economic security of the middle class.
Turner’s passionate advocacy for economic fairness, workers rights, reproductive freedom and voting rights
earned her regular appearances on national television and radio programs—such as The Ed Show, Melissa
Harris Perry Show, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Morning Joe and the Rachel Maddow Show on
MSNBC, Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, BBC World News, NPR, Rickey Smile and the
Jeff Santos Radio Show—and accolades from numerous organizations across the country. She was named 2011
State Senator of the Year by The Nation, a Drum Major for Justice in 2013 by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Memorial Foundation, Inside Business Magazine’s 2014 Power 100—a list of the 100 most influential CEO’s,
Politicians and Civic Leaders in Northeast Ohio—and the Power 100: Top 25 in 2015.
In 2014, Turner chose to forgo her last term as State Senator and run for Secretary of State as the
Democratic challenger to fight for free and unfettered access to the ballot box for all Ohioans. Her belief in
voting as the foundation of our democracy and the one place where we are all truly equal made her an
unrelenting and outspoken critic of voter suppression efforts across the country and resulted in an
unprecedented national grassroots fundraising operation.
Turner lives with her husband of 20+ years Jeffery Turner, Sr. in the same community in Cleveland in which
she grew up. They are the proud parents of Jeffery, Jr., a local police officer and Second Lieutenant in the
Ohio National Guard.