2020 Election Candidates


The Pepper Pike Civic League is pleased to announce our new 2020 Election Candidates page. The Pepper Pike Civic League is a non-partisan organization that encourages citizens to take an active interest in local, county, and state government affairs. Typically, the Pepper Pike Civic League hosts an annual Candidates + Issues Forum to give residents the opportunity to get to know their local candidates. This year, we had to make the difficult decision to cancel our in-person event. We hope this resource helps you learn about some of your local candidates and we encourage you to vote in the upcoming election.



Name: Marcia L. Fudge


Candidate for the Position of U.S. House of Representatives, OH-11


Party Affiliation: Democrat


Statement of Interest:


Representing the people of the 11th Congressional District of Ohio is an honor.  Since the November 2008 special election, I have worked to represent your interests and advocate for your needs, including in the areas of quality public and higher education, improved infrastructure, economic and community development, access to healthy nutrition, urban farming, job opportunities, voting, civil and human rights, and more.  Born and raised in Cuyahoga County, almost all my professional life has been in public service to our people and communities.  The viability and vibrancy of our region is undeniable and maintaining it is important to me.   I strongly believe that despite the setbacks of a national health emergency and economic downturn, we are and will remain proven survivors.  Much has been done, more is being attempted and much more will be needed to heal America and Ohio.  I ask that you allow me to continue to work for you in Washington and here at home to make sure we get the support needed to not just survive but to thrive.   




Name: Laverne Gore


Candidate for the Position of US House of Representatives, Ohio’s 11th District


Party Affiliation: Republican


Statement of Interest:


Laverne Gore’s American Dream began on E. 92nd and Hough on Cleveland’s Eastside. She is one of 9 children, a life-long resident of Cleveland, and of the 11th Congressional district. Her parents, Moses and Josephine, encouraged all their children to dream big.


Laverne was educated in Cleveland Public Schools and after graduating from John Adams High School, went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Economics in California.


Her late husband, Larry, was a Marine Corps veteran, and an engineer with Lockheed Martin, which afforded Laverne and her family the opportunity to live abroad, experiencing Europe, the Middle East, and Northern and Western Africa.


While simultaneously working, and raising a family, she continued her education earning Master’s degrees in Adult Education (M.Ed.) and in Public Health (M.P.H).


She has always maintained a home in Cleveland, and has deep ties to the community which has provided so much for her and her family.


A self-employed business woman, Laverne believes and lives the fact that America, despite its problems, is the greatest nation in human history. As she said in a radio interview recently America is not a country to fight for, it is a country to DIE for. 


Laverne is a community activist, as Executive Director of the Ohio Diversity Coalition she has for years organized clothing and food drives in Cleveland’s public housing developments. As Executive Director of the Sarah J Harper Leadership Institute she has served as a trainer, mentor, and role model for young African-American women.


Laverne is uniquely positioned to represent the needs of the people in Ohio’s 11th district to the administration in Washington. Her degrees in education and public health and work as a public health consultant prepare her for the challenges in the age of the pandemic, for the daunting problems of illiteracy and poverty in the urban parts of the district.


For the past 14 years, the 11th district has suffered from distant, disconnected, indifferent representation. Laverne’s candidacy offers someone with deep ties and commitment to the local community. 


A vote for Laverne Gore will be a Vote for a New Direction.




Name: Judge Emanuella D. Groves


Candidate for the Position of Judge, 8th District Court of Appeals


Party Affiliation: Democrat


Statement of Interest:


Judge Emanuella D. Groves has used the power of the court to improve lives and the administration of justice for the past 18 years. She is a 1981 graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She returned to the law school in 2016 as an adjunct professor and teaches Criminal Procedure II.


Judge Groves has been a prosecutor, civil attorney, and high ranking administrator with responsibilities that included overseeing the personnel office of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, which had over 1,00 employees. She also was a private practitioner with her husband, Attorney Greg Groves.


After 20 years as an attorney, she brought a wealth of initiative, energy AND experience to the Cleveland Municipal Court in 2001. During her 18 years of service in the court, she has created numerous programs. Over 600 defendants have earned their GED’s and hundreds of defendants have completed a class on the do’s and don’t’s when stopped by the police. Judge Groces was appointed the Mental Health Court Judge in 2016. In less than 3 years, she was honored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Alcohol, Drug Addiction, Mental Health Services (ADAHMS) Board and Arts Cleveland.


Case opinions written by Judge Groves have been published. These opinions are used by other judges as precedence, including appellate courts. The opinions are cited in legal reference materials. In 2016, Judge Groves found the RTA fare enforcement practice unconstitutional. She has created numerous legal seminars and presented in several seminars. Her commitment to education is demonstrated by her writings, teaching and requirement of defendants to secure their education.


Judge Groves’ accomplishments have resulted in her receipt of numerous national and local awards. She serves on national, state and local committees. She will bring a wealth of experience to the Eighth District Court of Appeals.




Name:  Pamela A. Hawkins


Candidate for the Position of Judge on the 8th District Court of Appeals


Party Affiliation: Republican


Statement of Interest:  


My professional experience has created a strong desire to ensure that courts and justice are available to everyone.  I believe that being a Judge on the 8th District Court of Appeals would allow me the opportunity to help ensure that justice is an open, honest, and fair process.

My 31 years of profession experience includes 16 years as a practicing attorney, two years of legal work, and 12 years in social services.  I have a strong work ethic and value the various perspectives that are presented in legal matters.  My experience will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience including non-legal experience that would benefit the Court, litigants, and their counsel.  

Through my private practice, I have developed strong litigation skills and gained a deeper understanding of the law and its application to the facts of each individual case.  While many cases have similar facts and situations, each case has its own unique factors that must be taken into consideration.  My experience as an attorney appearing before the 8th District Court of Appeals has given me a broader perspective on how this Court operates.  My experience before the Court includes appearances as a prosecutor, plaintiff, and defense attorney. 




Name: Judge Ray Headen


Candidate for the Position of Judge, 8th District Court of Appeals


Party Affiliation: Republican


Statement of Interest: 


Standing on the shoulders of those who came before him, Judge Ray Headen was one of the first African American students to graduate in 1978 from the prestigious University School in Hunting Valley which neighbors Pepper Pike. He now serves on the U.S. Board of Directors. Headen graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts as well as the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Judge Headen has over 33 years of experience as judge and attorney combining his years of private practice as a public finance attorney with his public service work as judge to bring not only legal justice but economic justice to communities throughout N.E. Ohio. 


In recognition of his leadership and spirit of public service, Headen was appointed Judge on Cuyahoga County’s Eighth District Court of Appeals by Governor John Kasich in December 2018. 

In his time on the bench, he has gained invaluable insight into judicial reform and how to make our legal system fair for all.


“When equal justice is threatened or at risk for any of us, it is threatened or at risk for all of us.” Judge Ray Headen, 8th District Court of Appeals


From his first day on the bench, Judge Headen led the charge for sentencing reform. Same crime, same punishment. That’s what Judge Headen believes. Did you know that there is no statewide source of information about the length of prison sentences for person’s convicted of felonies? Working with both political parties, Headen is working to create a statewide Ohio criminal sentencing database that sets fair standards for all defendants, regardless of the color of their skin or the money in their wallets. 




Name: Robert C. McClelland


Candidate for the Position of Judge, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, General Division


Party Affiliation: Republican (non-partisan election)


Statement of Interest:


I am currently serving as a judge on the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and have been since March of 2011.  I was re-elected in 2012 and was unopposed in 2014.  I was a practicing attorney for 31 years prior to taking the bench and had both civil and criminal experience.  I conducted over 150 jury trials in private practice and have presided over approximately 150 trials since taking the bench.  I appeared for argument before the Ohio Supreme Court on 7 occasions.  I have extensive experience in private practice and on the bench.


I am one of five judges overseeing a Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities dockets and have been doing that for the past 5 years.  I am also a member of the teaching faculty of the Ohio Judicial College of the Ohio Supreme Court.


I would like to continue in this position which I have found to be extremely interesting and  rewarding.




Name: Rocky Neale 

Candidate for the Position of State School Board - District 11

Party Affiliation: Non partisan 


I have an interest in the District 11 position in order to have a voice for all of the district schools.


My 12 years and 6 of those years as Brooklyn city schools President gives me plenty of experience to collaborate with other State Members to move the Educational system forward for the students and the District 11 communities.    


What I would like to see at the State level is more financial efficiency related to the education and more discussion on options on how schools are financed. 


Being from a small district which has been on the ballot to pass levies very often gives me a perspective many board members haven’t had to deal with.

Please feel free to contact me at (216) 570-3893 or via email




Name: Colleen Ann Reali


Candidate for the Position of Domestic Relations Court Judge


Party Affiliation: Democrat


Statement of Interest:


First, I believe the litigants deserve qualified judicial officers who are experienced in the important work of the Domestic Relations Court. It is a niche practice where emotions run high. Our families are often in crisis and we need judicial officers who are passionate about problem solving and are dedicated to ensuring a just result for each unique family in our community.


Second, I know from my experience as a Magistrate in the Domestic Relations Court that there are areas and processes that we can improve for our families and the lawyers who appear in front of me.


  1. The Help Center needs to be re-envisioned. The Pro-se or self-represented population is the biggest challenge our court faces. Their needs must be better addressed by our court. We have made a great start. There is more to do.
  2. We should offer a financial literacy course for litigants who would find it helpful post-decree. The financial impact of divorce is often crippling and must arm our families with the tools to function after divorce or dissolution.
  3. I believe we can improve safety at our court. Our set-up pre-Covid 19 was not as safe as it could be. I am hoping as we slowly re-open to address these issues.
  4. I would like to use the resources at the National Center for State Courts (where I was trained in judicial case management) to train our staff. Specifically, I am concerned about making each contract with the court meaningful and avoiding unnecessary and costly court appearances.




Name: William Vodrey


Candidate for the Position of Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Full Term Commencing (FTC) 1-3-21


Party Affiliation: Democratic Party


Statement of Interest:


Hello!  I’m running for judge of the Court of Common Pleas in the November 3, 2020 general election.  I’m proud of my long record of public service as a magistrate of Cleveland Municipal Court (2001-present), as an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecuting attorney appointed by the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones (1995-2001), and as a Legal Aid lawyer (1993-1995).  


I’d now like to take my experience, my skills and my passionate commitment to justice to a higher court, to be of service to the entire county.


If I have the honor of being elected, I hope to expand bail reform, strengthen the specialized dockets of the court like Drug Court, the Mental Health Docket and the Veterans Docket, and deepen the court’s ties to the high school Mock Trial program, with which I have long been involved as a coach and judge.


I’m honored to have been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, G-PAC, FIINPAC, Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, eight unions including the North Shore AFL-CIO, AFSCME Ohio Council 8, the Journeymen Plumbers’ Union Local No. 55 and Teamsters Local 436, as well as many other elected officials, community leaders and ordinary citizens.  For a complete list of my endorsements to date, please visit


I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and healthy in these uncertain times.  Best wishes and thank you for your consideration.  I hope you will, on or before Election Day, Vote Vodrey!

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Pepper Pike Civic League

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P.O. Box 24808

Pepper Pike, OH 44124


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