Richard Weiland & Cincinnati Museum Center

Dick Weiland – A friend of many.

When I joined Cincinnati Museum Center in 1999, Dick had been hired just the year prior. When I first met him, I was amazed this person was the highly effective lobbyist which was described to me. He was not slickly dressed, he was sort of rumpled! He didn’t drive a luxury vehicle but an older car with dents (from his erratic driving!). He wasn’t flashy or charismatic, he mumbled! I really wondered if my predecessors had made the right decision.

As would normally be the case, one would retain a lobbyist, give them projects/issues and they would send you a report monthly regarding their efforts. Dick was never the “normal case!” I quickly figured out that he didn’t do reports,  but contacts, intelligence and effectiveness he had!

In early 2000 Dick led a group of state legislators on a trip to Israel. He invited me to join them. It was a quick but transformational trip.  I reported to the January board meeting as follows: ISRAEL TRIP/PUBLIC FUNDING – Mr. McDonald accompanied Dick Weiland and 21 state legislators to Israel recently.  The trip was successful in forging some very important relationships for Museum Center.  We need to intensely focus our efforts on securing long-range funding.”

From this trip, I made contacts which were invaluable to CMC for years to come. Our requested state capital and operating dollars were advanced because everyone on the trip had a shared personal experience and gained an understanding of one another which went beyond political issues. I suspect none of us will forget the experience of being on top of Masada, the ancient fortification on top of an isolated rock plateau. While we all went up Masada, Dick stayed at the base with Senate President Richard “Dick” Finan and we all claimed later they wrote the State’s Capital bill at the foot of Masada!

After this trip, I realized that Dick was impactful because of his respect among the legislature, so we learned from him. We started meeting at 7:30 every Monday morning at Rookwood First Watch. Dick was famous for having his shirt pocket bulging with paper. Everyone would joke about what was in his pocket. When we were meeting, if he didn’t recall something (which seldom happened) he would empty the famed pocket and look for a note on a piece of paper. Out would come many papers and even checks! We adapted to Dick, and it worked magically for almost twenty-years.  At these meetings we would outline the issues before us and set our plans. Starting each in Tuesday in Columbus, he would work his magic.

Dick became very knowledgeable of all aspects of CMC and was our advocate in so may ways. He involved us in the Holocaust and Humanity Center, joint programs with Hebrew Union College and many other organizations.

He was a special person who did much for others. He was effective, not due to the amount of money he raised for candidates (although it was substantial) but because he really cared. When Alicia Reece was first elected as a young city council person she had an inaugural ball at her parent’s Integrity Hall. Many scoffed at Alicia having this event but Dick told me to go. There were very few white members of our community who went to this event. Dick was there, John Williams of the Chamber and Tim Burke. I learned a great lesson that night. Respect others, celebrate their achievements, and be humbly present. Dick Weiland was humbly present in our lives. He impacted more people than most would ever imagine.

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Doug McDonald