Chairman David Pepper
David Pepper was unanimously elected Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party on December 17, 2014 and began his term on January 1, 2015.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, David is a fifth-generation Cincinnatian. David was first elected to public office in 2001 when he served on the Cincinnati City Council, finishing first out of a field of 26 candidates, and was reelected for a second term in 2003, again leading the pack in votes. David came to the Cincinnati City Council as riots, a severe crime wave and a public safety crisis rocked the city.
Amid this turmoil, David’s leadership was key in the successful push to improve police-community relations, and he ultimately served as the Chairman of the Law and Public Safety Committee. David played an instrumental role in negotiating a historic collaborative agreement between the police, the community, and City Hall, which healed long simmering tensions while setting the stage for improved safety. David also played leadership roles in economic reforms, new investments, and progressive policy changes that helped spark a decade-long renaissance that continues in Cincinnati to this day.
In 2006, David was elected to the three-member Hamilton County Commission. He served as the Commission President from 2009-2010. During David’s tenure at the County, Hamilton County won 19 National Association of County Awards for outstanding management practices, more than all other Ohio counties combined. Independent ratings agencies praised the County’s fiscally responsible policies.
David was nominated by Ohio Democrats to run in statewide elections twice. In 2010, David ran for the office of Ohio Auditor campaigning on a platform of increasing efficiency and transparency in government while ending the gerrymandering that has poisoned politics in Columbus and Washington. His platform gained him the endorsements of virtually every major Ohio newspaper. In 2014, David ran an intense campaign to unseat the incumbent Attorney General, calling for greatly improved transparency and integrity in that office.
David earned his B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa, and later earned his J.D. from Yale Law School. In 1999, David clerked for the Honorable Nathaniel Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Since 2000, David has also worked in the Cincinnati offices of major law firms Squire Sanders and Blank Rome, focusing his practice on commercial and business litigation, and appellate litigation. David also teaches election and voting rights law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
David is married to Alana (Swartz) Pepper. Alana grew up in Adams County, graduated from the University of Cincinnati, and earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Northern Kentucky University. Alana has spent her career helping those faced with mental illness. In May 2015, David and Alana welcomed their first child, Jacob “Jack” Hamilton Pepper, into their family.
Pepper is also the author of a forthcoming novel, “The People’s House,” an Ohio-based political thriller.
Vice Chair Rhine McLin
A Dayton native, Rhine McLin has a long history of active community involvement, which attests to her commitment to public service. In 2002, she became the third African-American Mayor and the first female Mayor in the city’s history. She previously served six years in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1988 to 1994, and was then elected state Senator for the 5th Senate District, serving Montgomery and Miami Counties. When elected in 1994, she became the first African-American woman to serve in the Ohio Senate. In 1998, McLin was elected by her peers to serve in leadership as the Minority Whip. Two years later, she was elected again to serve in the Senate leadership as Minority Leader.
McLin has over 20 years in the political arena and more than four decades of educational expertise. She has served on numerous boards and committees in various positions.
McLin earned a B.A. in sociology and secondary education at Parsons College in Iowa and a Master of Education in guidance counseling at Xavier University in Cincinnati. She also has an associate degree in mortuary science from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. She currently serves as an instructor at Central State University West, where she teaches Criminology; Race & Ethnic Relations; and Juvenile Delinquency: Social Problems.