Democratic Party leader stepping down
STEUBENVILLE — The leader of the Jefferson County Democratic Party has chosen to step down, citing work-related commitments he felt kept him from devoting sufficient time to the role.
“If I can’t dedicate myself 100 percent to something, I’d rather let it go,” said Robert Martin, who became the local party’s first Black chairman in 2020.
He noted the party will be very busy as the 2024 presidential election approaches.
Martin said he will continue to serve on the party’s central committee, which is expected to meet on Feb. 6 to consider who will serve the remaining two years of his term.
He noted Barbara Baird, as the party’s vice chair, has become its acting chair with his resignation.
Martin said while it’s not clear if Baird will serve the remainder of his term, she has the distinction of being the first woman to chair the local party since it was established about 200 years ago.
“She has made history, whether it’s for two weeks or two years,” he said, adding he has great confidence in her leadership skills.
“I think very highly of her,” said Martin, who added she is among many hard-working individuals in the group.
Of fellow party members, he said, “People I’ve dealt with are really good people. While I was there, I had some great support and, overall, it’s been a great experience.”
Martin also expressed thanks to his wife, Andrea, who joined him on trips to various cities for election materials and helped man the party’s booth at the Jefferson County Fair throughout the week.
A former Wintersville councilman and mayor, Martin said he became involved in politics as a young man while his father was serving in the same offices, and will continue to be involved.