Meet a Matriot: Harriet Warm

1) You were among the first of the Cleveland-area people to join The Matriots PAC, and signed on as a Founding Member. What about The Matriots’ work appeals to you?

Having attended a girl’s school, a women’s college and been on the all-female board of a hospital, I know how effective women can be. I was dismayed by the limited number of women running for office, even in 2018.

When I was introduced to The Matriots, I immediately felt they could be my proxy. They could sort out the abilities of Ohio women running for office, something I could not do effectually as an individual.  The fact that they focused narrowly on Ohio and offered a range of support to candidates seemed to me a recipe for success over time.

2) You moved to Ohio several years ago from New York City, where you worked at Citibank.  What is your view generally on politics in Ohio?

Politics in Ohio seems much more personal. New York City is so large that it is difficult to have an impact.  Because it is predominantly Democratic, the action is usually in the primaries.  In Ohio one often personally knows one or more candidates and there is a feeling that individual support can truly make a difference.

3) What are your observations about the differences between Cleveland and Cincinnati politically?

When I grew up in Cincinnati there was no Democratic Party. There was only the Republicans and the Charterites.  My father ran as a Charter candidate one year. They needed someone to put on the ballot and, as a young lawyer, he agreed to do it. Of course he lost, but as a child I remember listening avidly to the tallies as the votes were counted.

4) You have a particular passion around the arts, have been a board member of Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, the founder of the Leadership Council at the Cleveland Museum of Art and now work on a larger scale through the National Museum of Women in the Arts. How does your work in the arts support your belief in women’s leadership?

Both MOCA and NMWA were founded by women and have had powerful women directors for many years. The CMA has a growing number of women in key roles and three recent major exhibitions featured women artists or were female inspired. Working with all three of these institutions how can I not see how much women can accomplish?

5) Now for something fun: Tell us about a family member, hobby or a personal interest. 

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a zest for travel. I’ve hiked the Annapurna route in Nepal, spent time in Bhutan, visited India multiple times, toured Europe, South America and much of Africa. Now I’m especially focused on family trips. I am traveling in January, with my two daughters, to Sri Lanka, and in February to Charleston for a long weekend.  It’s a rare treat to explore new territory with them and see how they support each other.  I’m fortunate to have this kind of fun in my life!

Ohio’s Christmas Tree Bill

Did you know that the Ohio General Assembly passes a bill each year known as a Christmas tree bill?

In a rush to finish up business before adjourning for the holidays lawmakers at the state and federal level work to pass legislation known as a Christmas tree bill. The Christmas tree bill gets its name not for its holiday spirit, but rather for the the additional amendments, or “decorations,” tacked on to a single piece of legislation. In 1956, Senator Clinton Anderson commented in Time Magazine about a bill with more than 100 amendments, saying, “This bill gets more and more like a Christmas treethere is something on it for nearly everyone.” Often amendments or riders attached to Christmas tree bills are connected only by the goal of passing the legislation quickly so lawmakers can head home for the holidays.

This year the Ohio General Assembly decorated Senate Bill 51 with millions of dollars in appropriations to repair the Ohio Governor’s Mansion, rebuild the Statehouse parking garage, and improve flood control efforts in the the Findlay area. In particular, this Christmas tree bill made headlines for the $15 million appropriation to build a new stadium for the Columbus Crew. 

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New Research Details Current State of Women in Ohio Elected Office

The Matriots PAC conducts first “State of Women in Ohio Elected Office” report detailing numbers of women in political office – from school board to Governor.

 

Columbus, Ohio – According to a new research report that provides the first formal measurement of women in Ohio office, out of 17,616 elected offices at all levels of government in Ohio, just 29% of the positions are held by women. Sponsored by The Matriots PAC, the research includes a review of offices from school boards to village, city, county, and governor to create a more accurate picture of the number of women in political office. Prior to this report, female representation in office has never been formally accounted for by the Ohio Secretary of State.

Using data from the 2016-2017 term for local government and 2017-2018 for federal, state, county and judiciary, this study shows the highest proportional representations of women in Ohio office at the school board level with 36% of total positions held by women. However, this percentage consistently decreases the higher the level of government with just 22% representation at the state level and 16% at the federal level. It further highlights female representation in specific roles such as council member, sheriff, and fiscal officer, and throughout Ohio’s counties with Portage and Monroe showing the highest at 40% and Mercer at the lowest with 12%.

“It’s time we measure what matters. The Matriots’ long-term goal is to see 50% of all political offices in Ohio held by women, but it’s hard to achieve this if we don’t know what the current state looks like,” said Sally Crane Cox, Matriots board chair. “This research helps us better understand how much work is left to be done. Working toward equal-gender political representation benefits not just the 51% of the state’s population that is grossly underrepresented but will lead to more legislation and policies that support families and communities throughout Ohio.”

The Matriots PAC, a statewide nonpartisan political action committee, formed in 2017 with the mission to elect more women to office in Ohio who will support an economy in which women can thrive and prosper. The organization quickly grew to one of the most powerful PACs in Ohio after raising $1 million in contributions, pledges, and in-kind in its first year. In the recent 2018 general election, 16 Matriots-endorsed candidates won their races, contributing to the highest percentage of women in Ohio’s general assembly in the state’s history.

The list of officeholder names included in the study was gathered from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. As gender information is not collected on Ohio’s voter registration forms, when gender was not readily available, it was estimated using names and a statistical computing software, GenderizeR, that predicts gender based on first names. The research allows for a 4% margin of error for each level of government.

“This research is exciting because not only does it finally give us a real picture of the numbers of women who are working hard to better our communities through the work they are doing at the school board, village, county, and state levels, it helps us prioritize our efforts, as an organization, around future outreach and elections,” said Elissa Schneider, Matriots executive director. “At 29% representation, we’ve got some work to do, particularly when it comes to higher level offices.”