OHIO SUPREME COURT Justice Sharon Kennedy speaks Monday night during the Hancock County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner. Kennedy said President Lincoln was a “shining example of what the American dream is really all about.” (Photo by Randy Roberts / The Courier)

Staff Writer

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy held up President Abraham Lincoln as a “shining example of what the American dream is really all about” Monday at the namesake dinner held by the Hancock County Republican Party.

Kennedy described the series of hardships Lincoln faced, from his mother’s early death and his family’s poverty to his election failures.

“At any time in his life, he could have given up the chase and the pursuit of this dream. … But he didn’t. That is the perfect embodiment of the American dream,” she said.

“To decide, commit, work hard, have fortitude. To see obstacles as the opportunity to rise, to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go at it again. Because only he, like us, controls our fates and our dreams, and those dreams die only when we forsake them,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy noted that the Declaration of Independence promises only the “pursuit of happiness,” not happiness itself.

Lincoln “could have forsaken his dreams. He could have given them up, on what he believed was the promise of his pursuit of happiness, to hold office. But he didn’t.”

Kennedy also discussed whether, given the 2018 election results, Ohio has truly become a red state.

The new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor are all Republicans.

But two Republicans running for the state Supreme Court lost to Kennedy’s new Democratic colleagues, Justices Michael Donnelly and Melody Stewart.

“I don’t believe that we have emphatically chosen the red zone,” Kennedy said, referring to a column by Mike Dawson in the Columbus Dispatch that concluded Ohio has gone red.

Dawson has worked for former Gov. George Voinovich and for now-Gov. Mike DeWine when he was a senator.

“Our work is not done,” Kennedy said.

She emphasized judicial restraint as a reason the dinner’s attendees should continue working to elect Republican justices.

“I am running for re-election in 2020, and I will live on the road for the next one year, seven months and 13 days,” Kennedy said.

“Every day, I will be doing something to spread my word, my message, that judicial restraint matters to us, and that I am the conservative with a liberal-sounding name, and you should vote for that Kennedy in 2020. That’s what I’m going to do. What are you going to do?”

Kennedy was first elected to the state Supreme Court in 2012 to finish an unexpired term, then elected to a full six-year term in 2014.

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