Christopher Smitherman was elected this evening to another two-year term as president of the NAACP's Cincinnati chapter. The former Cincinnati City councilman will focus on increasing the chapter's visibility on issues of health, education and youth violence during his next term, according to a statement he released.
He was first elected as the chapter's president in April 2007 in a heated campaign against incumbent Edith Thrower, after Smitherman successfully appealed to the NAACP's national office alleging Thrower didn’t comply with the organization’s rules about how elections should be handled during initial balloting in November 2006.
In recent months, Smitherman has worked to include more minority contractors and construction workers in the Cincinnati Public Schools’ ongoing renovation projects. Also, the chapter is negotiating a deal with 10 area construction companies to ensure there's substantive minority representation on the workforce for large construction projects like the $400 million casino that will be built at Broadway Commons.
During his tenure, Smitherman has generated controversy for forging an alliance with the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), a conservative group, and appointing COAST leader Chris Finney to the chapter's board. Together, the groups led successful initiatives to block a Hamilton County sales-tax increase for a new jail and to require a public vote before the city of Cincinnati decides to sell its Water Works. An initiative to require a public vote on all rail-related projects that use taxpayer money, however, was rejected by voters.
All of the chapter's Executive Committee members were reelected tonight, including Juanita Adams as the chapter's first vice president, Beverly Morton as treasurer and Michelle Edwards as secretary.
The chapter didn't release any vote tallies.