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Published: 5/9/2013

Kaptur aide attends DeJesus’ emotional homecoming

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

CLEVELAND — Steve Fought, communications director for U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), was one of the people in the crowd for the welcome-home celebration for Gina DeJesus.

Mr. Fought now lives in the part of Cuyahoga County that is included in Miss Kaptur’s congressional district.

He said he was having lunch with Lucy Torres, Hispanic liaison officer for Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, when she got a call to go to the DeJesus residence for the homecoming at 2 p.m. Wednesday. She invited Mr. Fought along.

He said the high level of emotion in the crowd and the crush of journalists from all over the world appeared to overwhelm Ms. DeJesus when she arrived in a motorcade.

“The whole scene was a little bit much for Gina. She had on a hooded sweatshirt, she pulled the hood over her head, someone came and put his arm around her, and then she put her hand up in a victory sign,” Mr. Fought recalled.

“It was a very emotional scene. There were a lot of tears. People crying and cheering at the same time. She needs some space. Everybody in the community knows that, but they wanted to convey how happy they were for her,” Mr. Fought said.

The 9th District used to center on Toledo as its largest city, but was remapped after the 2010 census and now stretches into West Cleveland. It includes the neighborhood around Lorain Avenue and West 105th Street where the abductions are believed to have occurred.

Ms. DeJesus’ house is just inside the adjacent 11th Congressional district of U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D., Cleveland).

Mr. Fought said a large Hispanic community overlaps the two congressional districts, an area that until this year was represented by Democrat Dennis Kucinich.

Mr. Fought said Ms. DeJesus’ father gave an impassioned speech in which he announced he is now an activist for missing children.

And he said that he wants to have a block party.

Mr. Fought said he committed to the district police commander who was standing near him that the Kaptur office would volunteer to supply “the lemonade.”

“He said, ‘We’re going to hold you to that,’ ” Mr. Fought said.



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