Jeff Cappell isn’t afraid to piss off people in his own party. Last year Cappell filed a federal lawsuit against the local GOP’s big gun — Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. — alleging Leis broke state election laws when he included a letter in pay checks to his workers urging them to support a sales tax referendum on the November 2007 ballot. Leis settled the lawsuit and allowed Cappell and an anti-tax group to hold a press conference on county property.
For Cappell, 32, standing up for conservative principles was more important than kowtowing to party leaders. As president of the Blue Chip Young Republicans, He tries to instill that same attitude in up-and-coming GOPers from throughout the region: “Our purpose is to try to provide a welcoming atmosphere for young people to get involved in politics.” A Blue Ash resident who’s employed as an economist, Cappell has helped the club almost double its rolls in the past year to about 40 dues-paying members.
Q: What is the coolest thing about you? Cappell: I really don’t get asked that very often. (Laughs) It’s a little bit corny, but the fact that I can still touch the basketball rim at my age and with my relative lack of physical activity is pretty cool.
Q: What is the coolest thing about being a Republican? Cappell: Elephants can kick the crap out of donkeys.
Q: Who’s the coolest person you know? Cappell: He’s not a Republican, but I’d have to say (local political activist and former 98 Degrees singer) Justin Jeffre.
The BLUE CHIPS usually meet at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at various locations.
— Kevin Osborne
She might be young, but Britt Born has a wealth of experience helping Democratic politicians — both while they’re campaigning and after they’ve won office. Born, 24, worked on Jon Corzine’s successful campaign to become New Jersey’s governor and later worked as former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann’s liaison in Southwest Ohio. Nowadays, the Columbia Tusculum resident works as a bailiff for Common Pleas Judge Judge Jody Luebbers.
In her spare time, Born serves as president of the Hamilton County Young Democrats, trying to get the younger generation involved in politics. “That demograph ic is usually pretty high maintenance. It takes a lot of time and resources to get them interested,” she says. “We try to get them to recognize that the issues going on around us really do affect them.” Since Born took office eight months ago, the group has a redesigned Web site and grown to about 65 dues-paying members.
Q: What is the coolest thing about you? Born: I think my journey through politics and moving to Cincinnati is pretty cool. I just decided on a whim to move to Cincinnati. I realized that although this area seemed to be in Republican control it actually was the true swing area of the state. Whichever way Southwest Ohio goes, it seems like the state goes. I wanted to be a part of that.
Q: What is the coolest thing about being a Democrat? Born: We are so right on the issues that matter to most Americans, whether it’s labor or Planned Parenthood or the environment. There are not many conservative organiza tions that exist to really help people. Progressives want even the underachievers in society to succeed and do well, and we try to help them do that.
Q: Who’s the coolest person you know? Born: My mother. She is extremely supportive of me even though politics isn’t what she would’ve chosen for me. She instilled in me at a very early age that even one per son can make a difference, one person can change the world.
THE YOUNG DEMOCRATS meet at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of every month at Hamilton County Democratic Party
headquarters, 6109 Webbland Place, Pleasant Ridge.
— Kevin Osborne