Columbus City Council
Elizabeth Brown has served on Columbus City Council since 2015. During that time has fought tirelessly for broad-based economic prosperity that balances business growth with poverty reduction. She has also focused on strengthening women and families by addressing wage gaps and paid family leave among other vitally important initiatives. She is not afraid to tackle difficult issues whether that means looking at ways to provide more affordable housing or providing better early childhood education opportunities. She is seen as a political champion in the making for good reason. Elizabeth and her husband live in Columbus’ Victorian Village with their two young children.
In 2020 Elizabeth will continue her work as a Columbus City Council Member.
The responsibilities of city council include:
- City council is the legislative branch of the city.
- City council carries the responsibility of adopting annual operating and capital budgets, city contracts that exceed $20,000 or $100,000, and enacting the Columbus City Codes.
- City Council establishes land use policy through its zoning powers.
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
A chance to run for an open seat on Columbus City Council occurred unexpectedly and at a time I cannot help but describe as inopportune: I was seven months pregnant with my first child and my due date was just weeks before Election Day. But from the moment I stepped into the race, I had no doubts that it was the right move for me. I ran on an agenda that promotes economic opportunity and security for all residents, especially women, and that’s how I have governed since being elected. Women and girls will be my continued focus if I’m reelected because I truly believe that the success of any community can, in large part, be determined by measuring the success of its women.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
It starts with my grandmothers. Both were born in 1920, the year the 19th Amendment was ratified. Both fought all their lives for their communities and for social justice, one in Mansfield and one in Dayton. I remember in 2008, my paternal grandmother at 88 years old dragged her card table out, set it up in front of her grocery store, and set to work registering voters. She’d be particularly dismayed over the last several years by the rollback in voter rights in Ohio and across our country. My maternal grandmother – a Spanish teacher – welcomed foreign-born students into her home year after year and worked to expose her classroom students in a small town outside Dayton to culture and community around the world. She’d be horrified today by the hateful actions against immigrants and refugees being done in the name of the United States.
Each in her own way, my grandmothers taught me something simple: after we’re gone, the only proof we were ever in this world is the footprint we leave behind – the way we’ve impacted our communities, made a difference for others, and perhaps raised children who will do the same. So we better make that footprint good.
At the most basic level, that’s why I ran for office in 2015. I believe it is not only deeply unfair but fundamentally un-American that the ZIP code into which a child is born is a predictive factor in what kind of outcomes that child may have in life – likelihood to go to college or serve time in prison, likelihood to make a middle-class income, likelihood to live until 65 or 85, or even, likelihood to live past one year old.
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?
Before my career started in earnest, I spent a year between high school and college as a teacher’s assistant for middle school students through the City Year/AmeriCorps program. Working inside a classroom gave me a new vantage point into how public policy decisions affect (and sometimes fail) our families and communities, and it instilled in me a fierce dedication to fighting for a level playing field. While it would be another 12 years before I actually ran for office, the triumphs and tragedies I experienced alongside our kids in 2003 underpin the career journey through government, nonprofits, and community development that ultimately got me where I am.
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 vision for Ohio is that we are a state where every child has an equal shot at success. Today Columbus is a city of tremendous opportunity, but we have real work to do to level the playing field so this opportunity reaches every family. As we hurdle into the next few decades, there’s no reason that we can’t achieve both economic growth and poverty reduction. I believe that this goal can be achieved faster if we follow the lead of women.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
More affordable housing, high-quality (and affordable) early childhood education for every child ages 0 to 5, and high-capacity mass transit options.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a poet, and I was an avid piano player. At the same time I’ve never considered myself artistic. Fast forward to today, and I wish I made a heck of a lot more time to write or play. I have two young kids (3 years old and 1 year old) who both enjoy expressing themselves through music and art, and I want to nurture that in them for the long haul.