Newark City Council, At-large
Jen Kanagy, 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.
The responsibilities of city council members include:
- Establishing policies for effective delivery of municipal services like trash collection, water, and snow removal services.
- Adopting annual city budgets and legislation to address key issues in their community.
- Approving the use and sale of city owned property.
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
I initially decided to run for public office in 2015 when my daughter was in elementary school and we were having issues with common core curriculum including; extensive testing of 8 year olds, crying during homework, and teachers feeling powerless. I had a ground swell of grassroots PTO parent support, but we lost that race by a small margin.
Then in 2016 we were knocking doors for local candidates, and we noticed Newark had some very poverty stricken areas. Olivia, my daughter and I, were shocked that some people only had plastic over the windows in their homes, not glass. We then found a home to purchase in December of 2016 that was in a great school district located within the city of Newark. My family relocated and fell in love with Newark.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
My Grandma is an amazing, strong and inspiring woman. She taught me the value of hard work. She mucked stalls for many years while my Grandpa trained thoroughbred race horses. She was a behind the scenes Superwoman doing the accounting, cooking dinners, helping raise me, while she encouraged me to go to college. She was one of 13 children during FDR’s presidency who didn’t have the opportunity to seek further education. She is a brilliant lady who I love. She read to me as a baby, taught me to read as a toddler, bought me more Walter Farley books than the law allows, and is a gift to my 13 year old daughter to this day. Yvonne Ruff was a leader before her time, and at 90, she still amazes me.
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 have been serving the public for more than 25 years as a registered nurse. I serve indigent patients, and wealthy patients. I believe every human being has value, and everyone should be treated as an equal, with dignity and worth. When elected as a leader, I will make sure everyone has a voice and is heard. I spent my career listening to people, and I will continue to do so as an elected official.
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 ambitious vision for Newark would be for women to be 100% elected officials by 2028. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated, “When I’m asked when will there be enough women on the Supreme Court? And I say, ‘when there are 9.’ People are shocked. But there’s been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a questions about that.”
When women are at the table, the conversation changes. Especially during Newark 2028 Vision meetings, and I thank those women.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
Many politics are local, and Newark faces many issues. I would have to narrow it down to public transportation and affordable housing. Followed closely by infrastructure, living wage jobs, addiction, affordable child care, and lack of affordable healthcare.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
I was successful in showing horses, and have completed 3 triathlons, but I’m a Mom first and foremost. I cannot express how proud I am of my 13 year old daughter. She wrestled this year for the first time mostly against boys! She has rescued ferrets, raised baby ducks, won ribbons with her border collie.
She inspires me.
She is brave.
She is strong.
She is smart.
She is empathetic.
She is beautiful and she was born at 26.5 weeks.
Olivia knows life has value.
And I am so proud to be her Mom. She has taught me so much, and she is so comical and makes me laugh. My biggest accomplishment in this lifetime is being Olivia’s Mom.
And she is what drives me to run for office, and seek a better future for her.