State Representative, District 21
Central, State Legislature
We proudly endorse Beth Liston for Ohio State Representative – District 21. She built a strong campaign and will work to help us achieve our mission.
“I am proud to be endorsed by the Matriots. When women support each other, we can make a strong, positive impact on our world. This endorsement will further my campaign’s work for smarter, healthier communities.”
– Beth Liston
House District 21 includes the cities of Columbus, Dublin, Worthington and Hilliard. Click here to find the elected officials in your district.
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
A few years ago I started looking towards next steps in my career. I love taking care of patients, but felt like by the time I saw people, it was often late in the process. I could help people with their current problem, but couldn’t affect the system in a way that would prevent disease and keep people healthy. There were too many social determinants that had a much greater impact than I could.
To address this I did what I frequently do, which is to study more. I started a Master’s of Public Health program, joined policy groups in organized medicine and began to prepare for my career after the kids left the house; I was thinking of this as a 10-year plan. However, late 2016 I realized that I needed to act more quickly. Many people say 9/11 changed the world – well, 11/9 (2016) changed mine. The day after the 2016 election I woke up and tried to figure out what I could do. I joined every group I could find. I knew healthcare was going to be a battle and I had a lot of knowledge about health and health policy that I hadn’t yet shared effectively. I spoke at events, press conferences, and public forums. I met with legislators, advocated with organized medicine groups and created lectures. In the end it felt like I was just shouting. I believe I made a small impact, but that I could do more. I knew lasting change would come from electing different leaders and I was uniquely positioned to take on that role for my community. May 1, 2017, I registered my committee with the Secretary of State’s office and in June I launched my campaign.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
My mother is my hero. A nurse by training, she completed her PhD in education when I was in middle school. Her research was on the impacts of homelessness on health. I can remember her talking about it at the kitchen table and she would often laugh and say “Well, I already know the answer: homelessness is bad for your health.” However, in doing this work she was able to use her medical knowledge in a way that went beyond simply the care of the patient. She did this in an academic way, but also in a practical way. At the same time, she co-founded the Homeless Families Foundation, an organization that continues to work with families who struggle with stable housing, food insecurity and access to resources.
Those years are filled with memories of different people coming to our house for dinner. I will never forget the night we had a single father and his five-year-old daughter over. The meal itself was nothing special to me; my mother could not cook. Meatloaf with some sort of canned green beans and corn was a pretty typical night. But as my dad brought the bowls of vegetables over, I saw the little girl’s eyes grow wide with astonishment. I could tell that this was more food than she had seen in a long time. In that moment I knew that I needed to be like my mom and help people in need.
My mother ultimately became Chair of Nursing and ultimately Dean of Workforce Development at Columbus State Community College, where she created amazing programs that enabled people to find a path towards success. She is retired now, but always finds creative ways to help our community.
Some of you are military veterans, some small business owners, some professionals, some mothers and grandmothers, some homemakers. How did one of these experiences shape who you are as a person and leader?
I am a physician. I care for adults and children who are hospitalized and I teach other learners how to do the same. I don’t know that this is a job, but rather a part of my identity. I analyze complicated information to try to improve people’s lives. With each interaction I reach out to the person in front of me, ask them what is wrong, establish a connection and find a way to work together to make it better.
The Matriots PAC has a goal to see 50% of all elected offices in Ohio held by women by 2028. What is your vision for Ohio in 2028?
I would like to see opportunity available to all Ohioans. This means a strong public education system, access to healthcare and the ability to find a good paying job that supports families.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
We need to make sure schools have the resources required to teach students skills that will enable them the opportunity to get ahead. We must address the rising costs of healthcare and keeping people healthy.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
I love strategy games. Every year my husband, children and I take time off to attend gaming conventions, where we spend several days learning new board games together. The family time is great, but I would do it even without my kids!