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Before it even began in Philadelphia, Ohio just took center stage at DNC

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Posted at 3:47 PM, Jul 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-25 15:47:42-04

PHILADELPHIA -- The Democratic National Convention may be in Philadelphia, but Ohio was just thrust center stage, after two Buckeye lawmakers were tapped to preside over this week's much anticipated party assembly.

Party leaders chose Marcia Fudge, the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 11th congressional district, to hold the gavel at this week’s four-day convention after former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, resigned her seat over the weekend.

Wasserman stepped down not long after leaked emails suggested committee officials favored presumptive nomineee Hillary Clinton during the party’s primary race.

And Fudge isn’t the only Ohioan stepping up in Philadelphia this week. Ohio State Rep. Alicia Reece, D-Cincinnati, will play the role of vice chairwoman. She received the news while in the Queen City, attending this past weekend's Cincinnati Music Festival. 

Reece is the first ever state representative to serve as an officer for the convention.

Fudge said her and Reece’s appointments demonstrate Ohio’s ever-increasing role in shaping American politics, especially on the left side of the aisle.

“It think that it shows the world that we really are the center of politics in this country,” said Fudge, of Cleveland. “If you look at the state of Ohio, 45 percent of our Democratic votes come out of northeast Ohio, so I think it’s a recognition of how strong we are.”

Reece also attributes the recognition to recent, national attention garnered by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, organizations which both hosted their annual conventions this year in Cincinnati.

Reece also boasts a relationship with the Clintons, as well as an already prominent position in the party as a whole: She introduced the presumptive nominee to a crowd gathered at Union Terminal last month, she had an hour-long sit-down with Bill Clinton during a visit earlier this year, and she also played a key role in shaping the party’s platform for the next four years.

Reece was also the youngest woman ever elected to Cincinnati City Council in 2002.

The Democratic National Convention was set to kick off Monday afternoon in Philadelphia.