Kelly A Kosek
Strongsville City Council, Ward 3
Northeast Ohio, Local
Since her appointment in 2018 as the one of only two women serving in city government, Kelly has proven a tireless advocate for women, families and her community. Leveraging 17 years of experience practicing law and a perspective gained as a board leader of numerous community organizations, Kelly has proven she gets results: taking a stand against unrestrained development and traffic, sponsoring an ordinance to make the sale of e-cigarette equipment to children illegal and bringing a new ADA-compliant playground to Strongsville. If elected, Kelly will continue to respond to the needs of residents and families for the betterment of Strongsville.
In 2020 Kelly will continue her work as a Strongsville City Council Member, Ward 3.Website
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
When I initially ran for Strongsville City Council in 2017, I was surprised that there were no women on City Council. My young son noticed it too, and he asked about it. I have always had a strong belief that women need to be included in every decision-making body, and I was concerned that women did not have a seat at the table. I realized I had a choice to make. I could either complain about the lack of representation, or I could run. I chose to run. I care deeply about Strongsville’s future because I intend to raise my children in Strongsville and I want to live in a vibrant, safe, and fun community. I also want to ensure that parents have a voice in Strongsville’s future.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
My parents inspired me to be a leader. When I was a child, my hard-working parents volunteered to be leaders for both me and my brothers. My mom led my Girl Scout troop for 12 years. My dad coached softball for every softball team I played on and served as the president of the softball league. Through their service, I watched the impact they had on others. Without my parents giving of their time and energy, these activities wouldn’t have been possible. I learned how to lead from my parents and they also pushed me to do my best. I experienced firsthand why it was critical to give back to my community. I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve my community by representing my neighbors on City Council. I want to honor my parents’ example by being a strong advocate and leader for my 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 litigation attorney and a mom to two young sons. Suffice to say that I have a lot of experience with conflict resolution, problem solving, and multi-tasking. I lead by example and am consensus builder. I pride myself on being a good listener—a skill I honed by listening to my clients. My listening and advocacy skills are very useful as a council member. Residents want a council member who will listen to any issues that they have and they want someone who will advocate for them. My background as an attorney really helps me in those areas.
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 Strongsville in 2028 is to see increased participation from women in all elected offices and throughout the city’s administration. Right now, Strongsville has 2 Councilwomen—the first women to serve on Council since 2001. Strongsville also currently has one woman serving on the Strongsville School Board. So out of 13 elected local offices in Strongsville (Mayor + 7 Council members + 5 School Board Members), 23% are held by women. I would like to see those numbers rise to 50% by 2028. I would also like to see women equally represented as directors in Strongsville’s city administration. Currently, no directors, other than the Clerk of City Council, are women. We should do better. Strongsville is a city with many capable, accomplished women and our government would work better if they were part of the problem-solving process.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
Narrowing to two important issues is difficult, but I think the most important issues facing Strongsville are planning and economic development.
Planning encompasses a lot—roads and traffic, recreation, and infrastructure, like sidewalks. We recently completed a master plan with the help of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and we are working hard to implement changes that improve our roads and traffic congestion, as well as to increase walkability (sidewalks) and add new family amenities, like a new playground that will be inclusive to children of all abilities.
Economic development is also an important issue for Strongsville because Strongsville owns some land that is zoned for industry as well as significant retail space that may be re-developed in the coming years. We have been successful in attracting and retaining quality employers. In fact, we recently attracted CCL’s North American Headquarters to Strongsville. To ensure that Strongsville remains a leader in economic development, we need to be proactive in responding to business needs to ensure that we’re attracting top-notch employers and businesses, but we also need to be cognizant that we are maintaining a pleasing aesthetic and Strongsville’s charm. Given that retail has undergone significant changes in general in the past 15 years, we need to stay on top of trends and be responsive to business and resident needs.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
I am an avid theatergoer and a supporter and advocate for Playhouse Square. I treasure my Broadway series subscription with Playhouse Square. The 2017-2018 series was one of my favorites—Waitress and Hamilton! I’ve also worked to pass my love of theater to my eight-year-old son. He’s enjoyed Aladdin and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, as well as The Gruffalo. My four-year-old son is not quite ready for theater yet.
I’m proud of the work that Clevelanders did to save Playhouse Square and transform it into the largest performing arts center in the USA, outside of New York. It is a joy to see a show in such a beautiful, historic venue, but the district is also a catalyst for economic development in Cuyahoga County.
My love of theater included two terms on the Playhouse Square Partners board. I served as the co-chair of the Playhouse Square Partners board in 2010-2011. Now I am using the skills I learned as the co-chair of the board to be a better leader on Strongsville City Council.