Lakewood City Council, At-large
Northeast Ohio, Local
With over 20 years of experience in public service, Laura Rodriguez-Carbone is engaged and ready to tackle the responsibilities of Lakewood City Council. Passionate about education and equal access, Rodriguez-Carbone has made strides for her community in providing mental health services and financial assistance for Lakewood’s school system. She has the potential to be the first woman of color on Lakewood’s City Council; if elected, she will push for equitable representation in laws and decision-making for all women of color. Her experience as the Co-Chair of the Lakewood Anti-Racism Task Force has prepared her to pave the way for diverse voices. Rodriguez-Carbone is well-equipped to modernize Lakewood and establish necessary infrastructures for the city’s post-pandemic economic recovery.Rodriguez-Carbone for Lakewood
As a woman of color, and the only woman of color in this race, I believe we cannot ensure equitable representation of the experiences of working women in Lakewood until we elect women of color to city council.
– Laura Rodriguez-Carbone For Lakewood City Council, At-large
1. Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
I grew up in a working-class family that was only able to make ends meet through public and social programs. Because of that, I knew early that I wanted to give back through public service so other families would have the same opportunities to live their lives with dignity. I built a career in public service with a focus on public health and equality, but knew that I could make a bigger difference by helping to shape policy. Running for office became the next logical step for me to find more ways to help families in my community.
2. Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community faces today and how do you plan to address them?
Top two issues: Public health and the Economy.
In the wake of a hospital closure, the elimination of the city’s public health department, and COVID-19, public health is a top priority for all of us. The pandemic has made even more clear the disparities in our healthcare system, and public health resources are more critical than ever to ensure everyone has access to quality health care. I’d like to make sure we increase funding to our Human Services department and work with our State Representatives to secure the funding we need to re-establish our health department. With the continuing pandemic, we need to make sure we have supportive resources in place for our families and that we can address issues quickly.
Our city’s economy is dependent on the success of our wealth of small businesses. Many have suffered over the last year, and we have an opportunity with the American Rescue Plan to help Lakewood businesses thrive again. I have proposed an Economic Recovery Office to help ensure the funds Lakewood will receive prioritize small businesses and help address economic equality in our community. I am also prepared to pass a resolution to recommend hiring an Economic Development Officer to put an infrastructure in place to ensure our small businesses are supported, can grow, and remain an important part of our community for generations to come. The resolution will also outline recommendations to establish a Small Business Development Center with a Minority/Women-Owned Small Business program aimed at ensuring everyone gets a fair opportunity to contribute to the prosperity and diversity of our community.
3. What stands out in our values as most important to you and your experience (or expected experience) in public office? Our values are:
• Economic empowerment – Spending my early years of civic service working to empower small Hispanic businesses and Latino union workers, I understand the barriers in place for people of color to secure good-paying jobs, and have equal access to opportunities to become entrepreneurs. Economic empowerment is at the core of my own values and ideas for increasing opportunity and equality in our community.
• Equity and independence: My thoughts… Equity and independence are the underpinnings of all of these values. When we ensure each person in our community has access to quality education, they are able to make their own decisions about their bodies and their health. When women of all colors can raise their families in a safe environment, we empower people to fully participate in our economy and our society. Without those basic rights, the American Dream we all aspire to is only attainable for those born into the right circumstances.
• Dominion over our bodies – Women are Lakewood’s majority gender and lead caregivers of our families. As women leaders, it is our responsibility to support legislation and public policy that preserves the rights of all women to control their own well-being and that of their families. I am a firm believer that health care decisions are a human right and that women know best what decisions are right for them and their families.
• Access to education – My grandmother, who wanted to pursue an education past high-school during the great depression, was prohibited from attending college because she was a woman. Because of this, education access and equality has been central to my own values and beliefs about true equality for women. I spent my early years in public service with the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education fighting for equity in access to educational programs and sports for young women and girls. Education is central to being able to navigate our health and wellbeing – its important that we are vigil advocates who fight to protect rights to that access and be a support to our local school districts in ensuring that every child can access a quality education.
• Safe communities in which to live and raise our families – As a community advocate, I have seen great strides made in building safer communities for children. Collaborative approaches can help ensure kids grow up with a solid foundation of safety and with a support system for those who are affected by mental illness or violence. To support safe and healthy families and communities—policies that reduce poverty, improve access to education and training for all ages and enhance the economic and educational environment in neighborhoods and that make it possible to blend different sources of public funding are also key. I am committed to developing and passing legislation that supports safe and connected communities.
4. What does a Matriots PAC endorsement mean to you and your campaign?
The Matriots PAC endorsement reaffirms what I believe to be true and what I am fighting for – that women must be fully represented in our policy-making process and that women are the best advocates for themselves and their community in public office.