Marilyn L. Keith
Akron City Council, At-large
Northeast Ohio, Local
Marilyn L. Keith currently serves as a ward 8 council member in the city of Akron. As a retired educator, Marilyn brings leadership skills learned as a teacher to the city council. Keys issues Marilyn will address if elected are supporting organizations mitigating homelessness and addiction; and bolstering social services and recreational programs that help families, women and children.
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?
My family first got involved in politics because my husband, Bob, and I had a small business that was robbed five times at gun point. We approached the local councilperson about our concerns, and they told us, “It was the price of doing business.” That was when Bob ran for the ward seat and the community rallied behind him in support of safety measures and local business. Certainly, his leadership and an involved and determined community was a pure inspiration to behold. Years later, Bob had another opportunity and stepped down from his seat. Then, over the course of three years, three different people held the ward position. Our community deserved better than inconsistent leadership at best and I wanted to give my neighbors the full-time support they needed. That was seven years ago, and throughout my time on council, I am proud to have developed seven neighborhood block watches, hosted clean-up events, clinics, and ward meetings and with your support, hope to take that initiative citywide.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
In life, as an educator, administrator, mother, and grandmother, I am inspired daily by the children who bring such joy and beauty into our world. Politically, my inspiration is my husband, Bob, and our generous community. He dreamed of having his own business and we faced losing that dream because of the previously described circumstances in the neighborhood. We decided to be the change. I am proud to serve people and will continue to look to the future, adapt when necessary, and help to strengthen the 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?
Most of us do not get through life without being tested. Those difficult challenges become our testimony. It is our choice to take those experiences and turn them into good. If we choose to reflect and learn, they become resources, help us grow, and even develop leadership skills. Through adversity, we have more to offer. I aspire towards this approach to life and choose to learn from each professional and personal experience in order to better myself and give back to my community.
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 the community is to see leaders who have genuine compassion and a generous spirit for their neighbors – that they not only want the best for others, but they are also willing to communicate, collaborate, and work hard to accomplish shared goals. Leaders with the best intentions for our city will surely value and promote having female and minority voices in high-level positions and an understanding that diversity makes us stronger.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
Our municipality, like many large and small from across the state, have been hampered by the great recession and the state’s deliberate draining of local government funding. I would like to see the state change their policies and bring those important dollars back to our community so we can support our schools, safety forces, and drive economic development.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
I was bit by a brown recluse spider and survived, I am related to Mamie Eisenhower – she was my dad’s second cousin, but the most interesting and impactful thing to me is that at the age of 10, my parents ceased purchasing goods for myself and my siblings. This ranged from clothes to shampoo. You name it, we had to buy it. This made me industrious from a young age. I started my own lawn mowing company and babysitting service to help purchase the things I needed in life. Although this was a great challenge, the experience instilled a work ethic in me at a very young age that carries me through to this day and I am grateful for that.