Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), a former mayor and a lawyer who has labeled Donald Trump a “bigot” and urged Bernie Sanders to “step aside,” questioning whether he was a “real Democrat,” is taking over as Democratic National Convention chair.
She replaces embattled Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is now resigning as DNC head because of fallout over the WikiLeaks emails that appear to show DNC officials conspiring against Bernie Sanders.
Political strategist and commentator Donna Brazile will lead the DNC as interim chair, while Fudge presides over the convention. Fudge pictured with Brazile:
Fudge was named to the convention leadership position by presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. Fudge will gavel all convention sessions open and closed, said Cleveland.com.
Who is Marcia Fudge?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fudge Endorsed Hillary Clinton in February & Questioned Whether Bernie Sanders Was a ‘Real Democrat’
Marcia Fudge endorsed Hillary Clinton during the primary last February. WTAM 1100 radio in Cleveland quoted Fudge as saying in March, “If Bernie Sanders were a real Democrat and not really an Independent trying to be a Democrat, he would allow us to pull together and coalesce around our candidate.” She then added, according to the radio station, “I understand he may want to have some influence on delegates and he can do that now. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy for staying in, I think that he has a role he needs to play, but what it costs us is time and money.”
She is an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump, once calling him a "bigot."
An article in Time Magazine called “What Caused Orlando?” quotes Fudge as saying, “The bigotry, the hate that is spewed by Donald Trump, the words that incite and encourage violence. Now, more than ever, the United States needs a steady hand.” She also said of Trump: “I don’t support bigots and that is what Donald Trump is.”
She said of the Republican National Convention, which was held in her home state of Ohio: “They have tainted the entire image of the United States of America.” Fudge was first elected to Congress in 2008 and serves the 11th Congressional District in Ohio.
2. Her Only Sibling Was Shot & Killed & She Has a Law Degree
Fudge discussed the death of her brother on MSNBC, criticizing Republicans for not passing gun control legislation. “I’ve lost a family member to gun violence,” she said. “My only brother. My only sibling died at the hands of a gun.” She did not elaborate on the details.
She then said of Republicans, “I want to know what do they stand for? Do they stand for Trayvon Martin? No. Did they stand for Jordan Davis? No. … Did they stand for Michael Gardner or Tamir Rice? No, they didn`t. What do they stand for?”
Fudge has frequently spoken out about police-related shootings. She condemned a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown shooting death by saying, it was an “embarrassment” and “another slap in our face,” adding, “If we are to learn anything from the tragic death of Michael Brown, we must first acknowledge that we have a race issue we are not addressing.”
She posted this throwback picture of herself at Shaker Heights High School, where she played field hockey and volleyball among other sports, being named best female athlete and often named a team leader, said Cleveland.com.
Fudge earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Ohio State University and has a law degree from the Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall School of Law, her offical biography says. She is a Past National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a member of the Greater Cleveland Alumnae Chapter, says the biography.
3. She Has Called Her Mother Her ‘Biggest Supporter’ & Confidante & Has Remained Single
In a tribute to her mother, Marian Saffold, on Instagram, Fudge wrote, “The best advice she gave me was simple. She told me I could be whatever I wanted to be and that if you work hard, God will bless you. Whether I was going out for the field hockey team or declaring my candidacy for mayor, she was always my compass and my confidante. She believed in me, and told me I could do it. Every child has hopes and dreams and needs someone who believes in them fully and unconditionally.”
Fudge was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She is 63-years-old and is single, Vote Smart says.
Cleveland.com says Marian Saffold was “among the first black women union organizers hired by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees” and Fudge helped her stuff envelopes as a child. Fudge’s hobbies were described by the Cleveland news site as “Pinochle, barbecuing and making ice cream with a manual machine.” She described herself as “reserved” and focused on work, the news site said.
4. She Is Vocal on Campaign Finance Reform, Which She Calls a Civil Rights Issue & Has Polarized Ratings From Issues Groups
Voting rights and campaign finance reform are issues Fudge frequently weighs in on.
Her platform is a Democratic one; she supports gun control legislation, is against mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders, is pro-choice, opposes repealing the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), supports environmental regulation, and supports income tax increases, according to a Vote Smart summary of her positions on the issues.
Fudge has a 0 percent rating from pro-life groups and 100% rating from pro-choice groups. Many of her ratings from issues groups are similarly polarized, says Vote Smart. For example, she receives an “F” from the National Rifle Organization but a 100% rating from The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
5. Fudge Is a Former Mayor Who Started Her Career In a Prosecutor’s Office
According to her official biography, Congresswoman Fudge started her career in government with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. She was then elected as the first African-American and the first female mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, where, according to her biography, “she led the city in shoring up a sagging retail base and providing new residential construction.”
She also worked as chief of staff for United States Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (the first black woman elected to the U.S. House in Ohio) from 1998-2000 and was a deputy county auditor, says Vote Smart. She is a member of Zion Chapel Baptist Church, says Vote Smart.
Cleveland.com says Fudge was “mentored in politics” by Tubbs Jones and took over her seat in a “heavily Democratic district” after working as “director of the Cuyahoga County budget commission before becoming budget and finance director for then-county Prosecutor Tubbs Jones.” Cleveland.com describes her time as mayor by saying the nine years she spent in the position were marked by a “focused, no-nonsense style.”