Meet MCDP Chair Joyce Kale-Pesta... 

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For more than four decades, through the tenure of five Party Chairs, a corps of local, state, and federal elected officials, and a legion of MCDP Central Committee members, Mahoning County Democratic Party Chair Joyce Kale-Pesta has been the persistent personification of the Democratic Party. A unifying and organizing force in a Party of which Will Rogers once said "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat,” Joyce has successfully navigated the sometimes choppy waters of Democratic Party politics because candidates and their supporters know she is unfailingly loyal, absolutely trustworthy, amazingly competent, and totally committed to helping Democrats win. A goal she has accomplished election after election, year after year.

She’s been every bit as persistent in her drive to make Mahoning County’s the best electoral system in the nation. A 30-year employee of the Board of Elections, Joyce rose from her initial position as a clerk to become one of the 

most highly-regarded elections officials in the United States. Today she is renowned for her attention to detail, vast experience, and willingness to embrace new technology—all of which explains why she is respected by her peers, admired by her staff, and trusted by the voting public.

On the job long enough to remember the days when citizens cast votes behind the closed curtains of cumbersome voting machines, she embraced new technology that makes voting easier than ever before. She advocated for and oversaw the development of the free Vote Mahoning County smartphone app that puts a world of information about voting and elections in the collective palms of Mahoning County residents and she led the effort to acquire digital poll books that make voting quicker and more secure than ever before.


She comes by her activism and enthusiasm naturally. The daughter of the late Elizabeth “Bessie” Spangel, who is still revered in the labor movement and the Democratic Party for her pioneering work on behalf of women, Joyce was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio where she attended St. Brendan’s Grade School, Ursuline High School, and YSU, or Youngstown College as it was known during the years she was enrolled.


Married to Thomas J. Pesta for 35 years, Joyce is the proud mother of three sons, Robert. W. Kale, Gregory Kale and Geoffrey Kale and has one step-daughter, Andrea Pesta. She delights in her five grandchildren: Ashley, Brendan, Patrick, Rory and Ryan Kale and is the sister of Sharon Sabatka. Their brother Richard J. SPangel is deceased.

Professional experience:           

  • Chair, Mahoning County Democratic Party

  • First Vice-Chair and Secretary of the Mahoning County Democratic Party

  • Democratic State Central Committeewoman for the 33rd District

  • Director, Mahoning County Board of Elections

  • Democratic Member of the Ohio Election Machine Examiners for the Sec of State



  • John F. Kennedy Democratic Woman of the Year

  • Ladies AOH Woman of the Year

  • Mahoning Valley St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal

  • Secretary of State Election Official of the Year 2012

  • Secretary of State Bright Idea Award 2015

  • League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown Hall of Fame Award 2016



  • Past-President, Ohio Federated Democratic Women

  • 1st Vice-President, John F. Kennedy Federated Democratic Women’s Club

  • President, Mahoning Valley  St. Patrick’s Day Parade

  • 1st Vice-President, Ladies AOH (Past-President)

  • Member Austintown Democratic Club

  • Member Lowellville Democratic Club

  • Member D.A.R

  • Member American Legion Auxiliary