In a brief debate exchange mostly ignored by the Ohio media, Aftab Pureval went on record Tuesday night in favor of new laws, at the “federal, state and local levels,” that would force Ohioans to be more “welcoming and inclusive.”
Ohio communities should should pass laws requiring citizens to “celebrate” those identifying as LGBT, said Pureval, who did not explain what that would entail. Pureval is currently running as a Democrat against incumbent U.S. House Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH-1).
The issue came up when a question was asked about Ohio’s “talent pool” and how the candidates would go about making sure it is plentiful and diverse enough to meet the needs of businesses.
“What will you do in Congress to increase the size, skill level and diversity of our region’s talent pool?” asked Jill Meyer, president and CEO of the Cincinnati Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“I know this personally,” Pureval responded. “I worked at Proctor and Gamble. I was the global brand attorney for Olay for several years. I know how difficult it is to recruit and attract really good talent here in our community, but most importantly to retain that talent.”
He said leaders needed to “work hand in glove” with the chamber, going on to suggest that the LGBT community in Cincinnati needs to “feel celebrated.”
“I think Cincinnati has taken great strides in order to do that, but we can do so much more,” Pureval said. “We can lead on this issue not only in our rhetoric but also in the laws that we pass, from the federal level, the state level and also the local level.”
He emphasized that “there’s more we can do on this issue,” and looks “forward to serving in Congress and doing it.” The comment was recorded by debate host Fox 19 News at the 1:01min mark.
None of the debate moderators asked Pureval to clarify or give an example of the type of laws he wanted to see passed, but he was likely referring to his support of the Equality Act, a piece of federal legislation that would establish LGBT people as a protected class under federal law.
Supporters say it’s about “fairness” and “equality,” but critics say the bill, if passed, would lead to mass federal Department of Justice lawsuits against private individuals and businesses seen as not welcoming enough toward this particular group of people.
Pureval was employed as an attorney for several years with the Washington, D.C. law firm White and Case, which represented the interests of foreign state actors, including the Islamic government of Libya and the communist regime of Nepal. He later served a stint with Proctor and Gamble before going into politics and getting elected in November 2016 as clerk of courts for Hamilton County.
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.