State Representative, District 48
Northeast Ohio, State Legislature
Lorraine Wilburn is moving the needle in Stark County and we are so proud to endorse her for Ohio House District 48. Her passion is evident in all she does. She is a needed voice in Columbus and will work to create change that benefits all in Ohio because when women lead, Ohio prospers.
House District 48 is in the Canton metro area and includes the cities of Canton, North Canton and Massillon. Click here to find the elected officials in your district.
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
Though I never thought about running for office before, I feel like my entire life has prepared me for this journey. I could not afford college after high school, so I bartended for several years before putting myself through college. I am the first in my working-class family to attend college. I studied sociology with the intent of making positive change in the world. I am a passionate community advocate, volunteering for many women’s organizations, issues, and political campaigns over the years. I founded a progressive community action group immediately after the 2016 election, which continues to grow and do amazing work. Like a lot of women, it was a tough decision to run and not one I took lightly. Ultimately, I decided to run because politicians have forgotten who they serve. Women lead differently, and it is time for our perspective and ideas. When women lead, we make decisions based on sustainability and community rather than opportunism and power. I am running because I am tired of not seeing myself or the issues that are important to me represented in government.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
My grandmother was and continues to be an inspiration to me. She raised me and worked very hard to provide for me when she should have been done raising children. We were very close and talked quite a bit about her unrealized dreams. She was a talented artist and dreamed of being a fashion designer, but in her time and in her family, women were wives and mothers. She married her high school sweetheart but told me she envied women of my generation because we could choose a different path. My grandmother worked hard. She was a sales clerk in a department store for 30 years. She made sure dinner was made and the house was clean, but it is not the life she would have chosen. Though she never called herself a feminist, she raised me like one. She brought me with her when she decided to volunteer on the Mondale/Ferraro campaign. She wanted to see a woman elected vice president and she wanted me to know that anything was possible for me. I know she would be very proud of me and all the amazing women running today.
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?
In my 20s, I worked for an entrepreneur who was an incredibly smart business woman and embodied the philosophy of the servant-leader. She empowered all her employees to grow professionally and develop talents some didn’t realize they had. To her, education, background, and age were irrelevant. She believed that a willingness to learn and work hard were the most important skills and that each person brought valuable talents to the table. As a result, she radically changed a few lives. Through her, I learned that when you lead by sharing power and put the needs of others first, you help people develop and thrive. When people have a sense of agency and feel valued, it fosters a willingness to help others achieve their goals in return. I strive to lead by her example in every aspect of my life, as a mother, a community organizer, and a professional.
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?
I agree with The Matriots. I would love to see at least that. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked when there will be enough women on the supreme court. Her response: “When there are nine.” I will be happy to see a time when women outnumber men in office.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
School safety and mental-health issues among our young people. Stark County was gripped by an epidemic of suicides last year and many families are hurting. We also had a school shooting. Parents and students are very concerned for the upcoming school year as very little has been done to understand why this is happening and no real solutions have been put forth yet. As the mom of school-age children, this impacts my family as well.
Affordable healthcare is an issue impacting everyone from students to the retired. The cost of healthcare continues to rise, and we are at risk of losing Medicaid expansion, which would leave thousands of Ohioans without healthcare. We are on the verge of a healthcare crisis in Ohio. No one should be in a position where they must choose between medication and groceries or face financial catastrophe because of an illness.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
When I was eight years old, I was performing in a children’s ballet festival. During a break, I was skipping rocks in a creek that ran through the property when I saw two boys a little older than I tormenting a turtle. I asked them to stop several times, which they ignored. I finally had enough and popped one of those boys in the nose. Of course, I got in trouble. On the ride home, my grandmother told me that my strong sense of justice was either going to get me in constant trouble or drive me to do good in the world, but I had to decide which. I realized that I couldn’t solve problems with violence, but I never stopped standing up for what I thought was right.