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Commentary: Todd Portune Was A Model Of Undaunted Courage

todd portune
Bill Rinehart
One month after having his leg amputated in April 2018, Portune and his fellow commissioners held a meeting at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was being treated.

On Jan. 25, 2020, Todd Portune, who spent nearly 30 years in office as a Hamilton County commissioner, died at his home in Green Township, according to a statement from his family. He was 61. 

"Todd was a tireless champion for all people, and has left the world a better place through his long legacy of care and love for Hamilton County," the statement read in part. 

Portune has long struggled with cancer. On Sept. 12, 2019, he announced the disease had returned and that he would not seek re-election. He officially retired as county commissioner on Dec. 31, 2019. This piece by Howard Wilkinson first appeared on Sept. 16, 2019, one week after Portune announced he would retire. 

Credit Courtesy of Alex Triantafelou
On Facebook, Hamilton County GOP Chairman Alex Triantafilou, left, shared a photo of Portune in August 2018 talking to a group opposed to the sales tax he and fellow Democratic Commissioner Denise Driehaus had recently passed. The sales tax was later rescinded.

And the GOP chairman asked "every citizen here, and every Republican" to pray for Portune's healing.

"Some things are bigger than politics,'' Triantafilou said.

Indeed, there are things far bigger than politics. That, too, is a lesson the young aspiring politician can learn from the example of Todd Portune.

Godspeed, Todd. Job well done.

politically speaking 2
Credit Jim Nolan / WVXU

  Read more "Politically Speaking" here. 

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.