State Senate, District 19
Central, State Legislature
The Matriots is honored to endorse Louise Valentine for Ohio Senate, District 19. She represents much of the hope, enthusiasm and passion that embodies this year’s candidates and we know she will be a strong advocate for women and families.
Senate District 19 includes Delaware, Westerville, and Mount Vernon. 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?
Like many others who are campaigning for office this year, I first thought about running after the 2016 election cycle. I was frustrated to know that the voice of my family and so many others across Ohio would continue to go unheard because our representatives weren’t listening and would rather continue to serve their own interests without accountability. I kept thinking that these couldn’t possibly be the best individuals to represent their constituents. Although I wasn’t happy with those voted in, I also knew that the options on the ballot hadn’t been ideal in the last several elections and in some races there was only one candidate running! I looked at my twin boys, who were four at the time, and kept thinking about what Ohio would look like down the road for their generation if we didn’t start making some changes now. I knew we needed better choices and more diversity at our Statehouse and made a decision to be the change I wanted to see. After a lot of research, meetings and trainings, I decided to run for the State Senate in my district because it’s an open seat this year and the issues I’m passionate about, like better supporting our public schools and making sure we have good jobs that pay living wages, are best served in that role.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
My parents instilled in me from a young age the essential premise of the American Dream: If you work hard, you can succeed. My father is a prime example of bringing the American Dream to fruition. He was one of seven children in a poor household. Shortly after graduating high school, he got a union job at a bleach factory in Cleveland. The job paid well enough, but after a few years he found himself wanting to continue to advance within the company and found out that in order to go further he would need a four-year college degree. While juggling a full-time job and a family with two young children, he decided to take night classes to work towards that degree. After years of hard work, he earned his diploma at the age of 45 and was able to continue to grow within the company and create a better life for himself and his family. I am always inspired by his hardworking spirit and his and my mother’s determination to make sure my brother and I had every opportunity to be successful. I think about my father doing all that he did for his family and know that even though the road to the State Senate has been and will continue to be challenging until election day, I can do this.
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?
Prior to running for office, I held a leadership role managing a consumer-testing program for a Columbus-based national retail headquarters. Over my 10 years with this company, I learned and became adept at skills ranging from collaboration to persuasion to change agility – all of which will be essential as a State Senator.
A lot of my professional and leadership experience comes from working with cross-functional partners of all different agendas and personalities. I learned very quickly that building relationships, especially with those you don’t see eye to eye with, was crucial in order to lead my team and ensure my department was as effective and efficient as possible. Good working relationships helped ensure that when I had a request or needed something from a cross-functional partner, it was much more likely that we could collaborate and I could help them understand why this ask was necessary and was not only of benefit to my team, but to theirs as well.
As the leader of a team of several associates, I was not only responsible for making sure projects were completed on time and answering their questions, but also helping them to grow personally and professionally so they could reach their highest potential. Early on when I managed my first associate, it became clear that if you invest in getting to know them personally, give them space to do their work and provide opportunities to stretch their talents and develop that I would get a great return on those investments and have a team that anyone would want to be a part of.
I was also blessed with a director who was a compelling leader and who served as a wonderful mentor for nearly my entire tenure with the company. She showed me that you can be direct and powerful, but still maintain professionalism with compassion and understanding for those you’re working with. I am so thankful for everything that I learned in my position leading this consumer testing team and know that I will continue to build on these leadership skills in the State Senate.
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?
In 2028 my twin boys will be 16 years old, so I envision I’ll need a second mortgage to cover our grocery bills and will be white-knuckling it as I teach them to drive. Aside from this, I want my kids to be able to start looking ahead to post-graduation and know that they have viable options right here in Ohio ranging from going straight to a good job with a livable wage to attending a community college or trade school for a skilled position to enrolling in a traditional University for a profession requiring a higher degree – all at a cost that’s affordable and won’t riddle them with debt for the rest of their lives.
If we elect for change, I envision that by 2028 Ohio will have a new method for funding our public schools and each school will have the resources it needs to ensure their students can perform as best as they can and be happy and safe in their environment. I would love for Ohio to be free of the opioid epidemic by 2028 for sure, but most definitely sooner, and have established plans to prevent this type of crisis in the future. If we keep working at it, I also envision a cleaner, healthier Ohio. Renewable energy sources like solar and wind can help us get there as can rebuilding and maintaining our infrastructure.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
Every child deserves access to a quality public education and the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive; however, over the last decade, Ohio has lost sight of this promise. While our public schools struggle with budget cuts, legislators have directed our tax dollars to for-profit charter schools like ECOT in exchange for campaign donations. Our current leadership hasn’t just neglected to resolve our school funding issue–they’ve made it worse than ever. We need a legislature that will stand up for Ohio families and advocate for strong public schools. While my opponent dismisses public education as “socialism,” I know the value of a quality public education. I’m proud to have the endorsement of OEA, OAPSE, Ohio BATs and numerous educators across the state that understand it’s time to invest in our schools.
Ohio families know that nothing is more important than the health and safety of their children. That is why it is critical that every family has access to quality, affordable healthcare options. I will act to defend Medicaid expansion and oppose efforts to strip 700,000 Ohioans from their healthcare. I will support programs that make care more affordable for all Ohioans. We will work to combat the Opioid Epidemic by investing 10% of the Ohio Rainy Day Fund in health crisis centers, local government programs, and other life-saving measures.
For Ohio families to thrive, they need quality public education, affordable healthcare, and good paying job opportunities. That will be my mission in the Ohio Senate
Tell us something personal about yourself.
I absolutely love to garden! This summer’s been tough because there hasn’t much time for keeping up with the flower beds, but I am happiest in the summer when I’m out in the sun (with SPF, of course) with my hands in the dirt. I sometimes think I missed my calling as a farmer. One of my twins, Anthony, also loves being outside helping me in the garden, which makes me smile.