The Charles F. Kettering Foundation has established an elite group of senior fellows to work with the foundation to advance our pro-inclusive democracy mission. Learn more about all of our Kettering fellows.
Former chair of the Ohio Democratic Party and Author of Laboratories of Autocracy
David Pepper is a lawyer, writer, political activist, former elected official, adjunct professor, and served as the chair of the Ohio Democratic Party from 2015 to 2021. In that role, he was engaged in numerous battles and extensive litigation over voter suppression and election laws in the Buckeye State, as well as reform efforts to enhance voting and end gerrymandering. Pepper is the author of Laboratories of Autocracy: A Wake-Up Call from Behind the Lines (2021) and Saving Democracy: A User’s Manual for Every American (2023). Both books discuss recent attacks on state level democracy and lay out the steps citizens can take to save it. He also teaches election and voting rights law as an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Born and raised in Cincinnati, David is a fifth-generation Cincinnatian who served on the Cincinnati City Council from 2001 to 2005. David earned his BA magna cum laude from Yale University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and later earned his JD from Yale Law School.