Shaker Heights City Council
Northeast Ohio, Local
Carmella Williams has spent all of her adult life serving her country and community. She is a 20-year resident of the Moreland neighborhood and a U.S. Navy Veteran. As a single parent, she raised two Shaker Heights High School students, served as Co-President of Moreland on the Move Community Association, and graduated from The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program. Once elected Carmella will support legislation that benefits women and will connect with and engage Shaker residents to build consensus around productive policy solutions.
In 2020 Carmella will begin her work as a Shaker Heights City Council Member.Facebook
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
I know many people sacrificed their lives for the right to vote knowing it was possible they would never exercise it, so I have always taken voting seriously but I was never involved in politics beyond that until the late 2000s. I never imagined I would run for office.I also never thought I would enlist in the military either. Never until I did.
Over the last 5 or so years, I have been checking off a bucket list of things I said I would never do and running for office is another one. I was so motivated by a specific goal or need, I did not have time to think about what I said I would never do. I joined the Navy because I wanted to see life outside of East Cleveland, travel the world, and go to college. My experience in the military gave me that and much more.
I was motivated to run for office after helping to successfully pass our library’s first levy in years. The campaign for the levy made it clear to me our community was a challenging place and I was frustrated. I knew I did not have the answers, but I felt my experiences might be useful in helping to advance the conversations we needed to have. I firmly believe to have the type of community I want I must be willing to do my part.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
There are so many people in my village who are models of courage and perseverance.They have overcome personal tragedies, setbacks, and limitations in a manner of fact way time and again. More times than not they are quiet leaders who lead by example. I could not help but try to emulate them and model the same for my children.
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 so grateful for the life I have lived and the experiences I have had because all of it has made me the woman I am today. My childhood taught me to appreciate family and not to be so focused on tomorrow that I don’t take time to appreciate today. My family members may not have always known the words to offer, I am so grateful they always encouraged me and rarely discouraged me.
I have spent 30 years working for the government and legal communities. The majority of those years were in service to my country and community. I worked with a diverse group of people on a variety of projects, issues, and causes. During that time, I have raised children, earned a degree in criminal justice, brought a home, served my country and community, and do something I never thought I would do. Run for an elected office.
During my journey, I have learned how to navigate through the military and corporate America as a black woman, collaborate and work with people from all walks of life, evolve, and continue to learn.
My experiences have made me someone who has not had a job she did not like and wants the same for others. I believe good leaders encourage and support others and believe that everyone has something to offer.
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?
My ideal Shaker Heights community would be a community whose leadership is a representation of the diverse community and more inclusive decision making. Ideally, community leaders would represent the diversity of the community, which would result in decisions that consider multiple perspectives.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
The two top issues facing Shaker Heights and Ohio are finding ways to attract and retain residents and maintaining what we have in terms of infrastructure and services. One of the most common challenges faced by local and state governments is trying to manage what you have when financial resources and federal funds are reduced or limited.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
First off, I am living proof that the saying about bicycles and never forgetting how to ride is true. Last year, I decided to start riding again and am so happy I did! There is something about riding a bike through the neighborhoods that make me feel like a kid again. I like to call myself a biker even though I am peddling.