Meet The Matriots PAC 2019 May Primary Endorsed Candidates

Class of 2019 Slate Card

Meet Some Amazing Women Running for Office in Ohio.

We are thrilled to share our Class of 2019 Matriots-endorsed candidates for the upcoming primary election on May 7th, 2019.

Our endorsement and research committees were hard at work the last few months. We interviewed and researched women running for office in primary elections across the state. Below you will find a qualified and captivating group of 9 candidates running for city council seats in May. These women are well poised to promote an Ohio that is both equitable and economically healthy.

The Matriots prioritized our endorsement on candidates who had competitive primaries, knowing that early support is key to advancing women to November. Across the state many races in 2019 will move directly to the general election. Many candidates will not have a primary opponent and therefore will not appear on the ballot on May 7, 2019. We focused our endorsement on races in Ohio’s most populous cities (communities with a population of 30,000 or more).


Read more about the women and their campaigns below. Please join us in supporting, encouraging, and, most importantly, voting for these women in May.


Ginger Baylor for Akron City Council, Member At-Large

Ginger has been twice elected to Akron board of education and spent 30 years in the Akron community as a teacher, adjunct faculty member, and liaison for US Rep. Marcia Fudge. Ginger is running to encourage job growth and development, support diverse neighborhoods and concentrate on matters of safety and infrastructure.

Marilyn L. Keith for Akron City Council, Member At-Large

Marilyn currently serves as a ward 8 council member in the city of Akron. As a retired educator, Marilyn brings leadership skills learned as a teacher to the city council. Keys issues Marilyn will address if elected are supporting organizations mitigating homelessness and addiction; and bolstering social services and recreational programs that help families, women and children.

Linda Omobien for Akron City Council, Member At-Large

Linda has served as a member of Akron city council since 2004. Prior to her service on city council she served on the Akron board of education for 16 years. Linda remains committed to policies that are a catalyst for economic development and create laws to reduce the burden on families around quality childcare, healthcare and safety.

Veronica Sims for Akron City Council, Member At-Large

Veronica was elected to Akron city council in 2015. Her professional career includes service to the Akron board or education and the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus. Veronica plans to continue to fight for sensible gun laws, to create livable spaces that support Akron’s growing aging population, and to fight for the most marginalized and underrepresented among us.

Janice O. Davis for Akron City Council, Ward 4

Janice is a retired healthcare information manager committed to the welfare and health of her community, and policies that improve early childhood education outcomes. She began her education and career at 45 and now holds an MBA and is a doctoral candidate. Janice approaches legislation through a systematic perspective and is keenly aware of how legislation impacts citizens and their everyday lives.


Tara Dyer for Marion City Council, Ward 5

Tara is a retired teacher who remains active in the Marion community. A board member for Marion Public Health, Tara understands her community’s needs and is committed to helping small businesses thrive, and to creating safe spaces for residents to get a hot meal, access to basic needs and help finding a job.


Jen Kanagy for Newark City Council, Member At-Large

Jen, a director of nursing, brings her healthcare background and fierce commitment to lifting families out of poverty to this election. A co-founder of the Newark Homeless Outreach project, she will advocate for needle exchange programs, and public transportation to help families access better paying jobs.


Ra’Cole Taltoan for Youngstown City Council, Ward 2

Ra’Cole is committed to her ward and her community of Youngstown Ohio. From attending board of education meetings to resident’s councils, Ra’Cole is deeply involved and participative in the legislative process. A former AmeriCorps Vista member, if elected Ra’Cole will work to provide economic security for women and to facilitate effective change in her community.

Samantha Turner for Youngstown City Council, Ward 3

Samantha, an operations director for a local nonprofit, is a rising star running for office for the first time. Deeply committed to Youngstown, she is raising her young family in the community and wants to build and support initiatives with neighborhood groups. If elected Samantha will focus on community infrastructure, encouraging home ownership and business development.


 

Primary Elections in Ohio

A primary election is an election used either to narrow the field of candidates for a given elective office or to determine the nominees for political parties in advance of a general election.

Primary elections can take several different forms in Ohio. The methods employed to determine the outcome of the primary can also vary from city to city, or district to district.

In a partisan primary, voters select a candidate to be a political party’s nominee(s) for a given office in the November general election.

Nonpartisan primaries are used to narrow the field of candidates for nonpartisan offices in advance of a general election.

In Ohio, the law provides for open primaries, meaning voters do not have to register with a party to participate in its primary. Voters select the ballot of the party whose primary they wish to vote in at the polling place.

Winners in Ohio primary elections are determined via plurality vote, meaning that the candidate with the highest number of votes wins, even if she did not win an outright majority of votes cast.

You can vote for more than one candidate? Yes, sometimes!

In many at-large and school board races, each voter selects up to X candidates on the ballot. In nonpartisan races, voters are commonly permitted to cast their votes across more than one party list. The X candidates with the most votes (who may or may not obtain a majority of available votes) are the winners and will fill the positions, or move on to the general election. See below for an example of a race structured this way. 


Plurality-at-large example

The Matriotstown City Council consists of three seats, and seven candidates are vying for these seats. Voters each select a maximum of three candidates.

Election results
Candidate Votes
Susan 1,250
Ida 800
Elizabeth 650
Alice 600
Lucy 500
Millicent 400
Lucretia 300

Since Susan, Ida, and Elizabeth received the most votes, they will comprise the Matriotstown City Council. If this were a primary, Susan, Ida and Elizabeth would advance to the general election. Susan and Ida each obtained a majority of the maximum 1,500 votes available per candidate; Elizabeth obtained only a plurality. In most races in Ohio, only a plurality is necessary.


Across the state, many races in 2019 will move directly to the general election. If a race either: (1) a nonpartisan election which waived the primary, or (2) the race includes candidates who do not have a primary opponent, the race will move directly to the general election on November 5th, 2019.


Primary Election Key Dates

April 8th, 2019: register to vote for the May 7,  2019 primary election. Click here to register to vote.

April 9th, 2019: Absentee and Early In-person voting begin. Click here to find your county’s early voting center. 

May 4th, 2019: Deadline to request an absentee ballot. 

May 7th, 2019: Primary Election (polls are open from 6:30 am – 7:30 pm)


Join The Matriots PAC today to help support our Class of 2019 candidates. Your investment will help advance female candidates to the general election and prepare to endorse, support and encourage more female candidates in 2020 and beyond. 

Meet a Matriot: Valerie Lemmie Thomas

Valerie is a Founding Member Class of 2018 and a member of The Matriots board of directors. Valerie is a brilliant strategic thinker with extensive experience in public policy. She is from the Dayton area and currently serves as the director of exploratory research at the Kettering Foundation.

Before serving at the Kettering Foundation, Valerie served as city manager for the cities of Petersburg, Virginia as well as Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio.  Additionally she was a commissioner on the Public Utility Commission of Ohio and the acting chief of staff for Congressman Turner, of Ohio’s 10th district. She has served on several boards, including the House of Representatives Committee on Urban Redevelopment and President Clinton’s Greenhouse Gas Advisory Committee. We are so fortunate to have Valerie as a member and leader of The Matriots PAC!

You are a member of The Matriots board of directors, and serve on several committees, what drew you to our work?

As a career public administrator, my goal was to ensure the organizations I managed were efficient, effective, and economical, the values recognized in the profession as the pillars of good government.   As one of the first African Americans and women to serve as city manager, I represented the importance women and people of color brought to the governance process.  When I learned about The Matriots and their core belief in the need for more political leadership and participation by women, it resonated with my personal and professional experiences and career.  Additionally, professional standards dictate that city managers are nonpartisan, so joining The Matriots has provided me an opportunity to use my knowledge and understanding of local and state government to help encourage and support women who stand for public office.   Through our collective power, The Matriots help ensure the interest of women and families will be central to public policies enacted by elected bodies in our state, strengthening our communities and enhancing the quality of life for all.

You served as the city manager for both Cincinnati and Dayton, can you share with our members what accomplishments from your time in office that you are most proud of?

As a city manager, I aspired to achieve the ideals articulated in the Oath of the Athenian City-State to “…transmit this City not only, not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”  I wanted to make a profound difference in the quality of life of those who lived and worked in the cities I managed, and most importantly, to change the order of things so that those who’d been traditionally disenfranchised had a voice and recognized their power to act as democratic citizens.

Building bridges across political, gender and economic divides; finding pathways to success for those who’d been previously marginalized; and promoting women and people of color to key management and leadership positions in local government are some of the relational accomplishments of which I’m most proud.

On an operational level, I’m most proud in Dayton of the (1) redevelopment we began in the downtown of housing and amenities, including, with the approval of the Cincinnati Reds and Major League Baseball, bringing major league baseball to town —the Dayton Dragons have been sold out for the past twenty years and continue to be a major attraction, catalyzing restaurants, housing and other amenities; (2) in a collaborative partnership with Montgomery County and Five Rivers Metro parks, the redevelopment of the riverfront to what is now RiverScape; (3) the construction of a performing arts center in collaboration with many public and private stakeholders; (3) building and renovation of the first market-rate housing in the inner city of Dayton for generations;  (4) partnership with Miami Valley Hospital and the University of Dayton that resulted in the redevelopment of the previously disinvested neighborhood anchored by these two institutions, to create new housing opportunities for residents and students and a new small business corridor; (5) development of an innovative program, in collaboration with Sinclair Junior College, to train minorities and women for positions in the city’s public safety forces (unfortunately, not sustained) and (6) the creation of innovative development financing tools, including the port authority.

In Cincinnati, it was (1) the successful implementation of the Collaborative Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to change police practices, policies and procedures in response to allegations of racial profiling and the use of force against people of color; (2) creation of a development financing authority to lead and finance redevelopment in the downtown and Over- the-Rhine, the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC); (3) related partnerships with other institutional partners including the University of Cincinnati; (4) retaining key headquarter companies in the downtown; and (5) supporting and financing neighborhood redevelopment.

You were also appointed commissioner by Governor Taft and Governor Strickland to the Public Utilities Commission. Can you share with our members what your role was and why the commission’s work is important?

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is important because it affects every household in Ohio through its regulation of utility service providers, including electric and natural gas companies, local and long distance telephone companies, water and wastewater companies, rail and trucking companies.  As commissioner, you approve the rates utilities can charge end users, help ensure utility system reliability and the incorporation of renewal energy resources into the energy mix.  During my term as commissioner, we implemented the competitive retail markets for electricity and natural gas.  I also served as president of the Organization of MISO States, a regional state compact that was established to represent the collective interests of states and local utility regulators with the operator of the bulk wholesale power transmission system operator.

Now you are the director of exploratory research at the Kettering Foundation, a nonprofit foundation conducting research focused on what people can collectively do to address problems affecting their lives, their communities and their nation. Kettering’s primary research question is: what does it take to make democracy work as it should? In your opinion, what does it take to make democracy work as it should?

The Charles F. Kettering Foundation studies how to make democracy work as it should and our research is conducted from the perspective of citizens and what they can do collectively to address problems affecting their lives, their communities and their nation.  Our core insights suggest that a robust democracy requires responsible citizens who can make sound decisions about their future and can act on these decisions in democratic and complementary ways with government to produce public goods.  We define citizenship not as a legal status, but as a practice that is more than voting and serving on juries.  Citizens are more than consumers, constituents, clients and customers—they are people who work collectively with government to address shared community problems.

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

The joy of my life is raising our twelve year old grandson.  He is a delightful, happy, sensitive young man who lights up our life.  For a class project, he and two classmates created a business—they sell keychains they designed and 3-D printed along with baked goods they make.  Their in-school enterprise is so successful they’ve hired two classmates to work for them!  Aden loves sports, playing Forte Night and watching You Tube videos and his active life keeps my husband and me engaged and active!