Ohio Supreme Court
We are proud to endorse Mary DeGenaro for Ohio Supreme Court. She has shown through her judicial record that she is fair and moderate and will support our values. We believe her more temperate voice is needed at the highest court in Ohio especially in these polarized times.
“Over 17+ years on the bench, I have worked to make women office holders the rule rather than the exception. That is why I am proud of The Matriots endorsement, as their core mission is to support women candidates, and I will continue to advance the cause of women office holders.“
– Mary DeGenaro
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
I have always loved volunteering since I was young. I decided to run for the Supreme Court in 2016 because by then I had developed the necessary skills to be effective as a justice: I had won three hard-fought races in an eight-county district; had developed professional relationships with judges and lawyers across the state; and had over 15 years of appellate judging experience. My ultimate reason for running was the public-service opportunity of the bench; I am passionate about civility, literacy and civic education. As a justice I would have a platform to have an actual, meaningful impact on these issues. When I was not selected as a candidate for 2016 I had a difficult decision to make; run for re-election on the 7th or seek a seat on the Supreme Court in 2018. In the end, my husband and sons asked a central question: Could you live with your decision if you didn’t try? Because I couldn’t, I took the risk, because the huge reward of the work and the opportunity to serve far outweighed the risk.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
Parents, grandparents and other family members do something at once both ordinary and extraordinary: teach the importance of family, friends, faith and balancing life’s responsibilities. I was fortunate to grow up in an extended family environment, and knew that I could be anything I wanted to be. My husband and sons have always encouraged me to seek public office and have been my rocks and best campaigners. The first time I ran, our sons were 10 and 11, and my husband and I and their grandparents worked as a team to make sure their lives were disrupted as little as possible–they got to enjoy unique experiences because of the campaigns, but still be kids.
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?
My toughest and most rewarding job is being a mother. You develop so many skills to be an effective leader and good person: time management, multi-tasking, delegation, teamwork, networking, listening, compassion, empathy, sympathy, mercy, kindness, loyalty, selflessness, tenacity, forgiveness. And if you are also working outside the home, teamwork is critical for each woman to find the work/life balance that works best for her and her family. That is why I have gravitated to an appellate bench. I’m very comfortable in and work well in a collaborative work environment; a lot of people aren’t.
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?
That would be an awesome achievable goal. Women need to take the risk of putting themselves out in the public arena. And we need to support and encourage each other, rather than feel threatened by other women. And as Ruth Bader Ginsberg famously said when asked how many women on the U.S. Supreme Court would be enough, she said nine, meaning when they all are women.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
Ohio and the legal profession both face the pressures of the substance-abuse crisis. As a justice and former addiction/recovery board member, drug courts are an important part of the solution, which is why I promote them as a part of the overall attack of the problem. And the second is literacy and the breakdown of civil discourse. Being able to read and civilly engage in the world can take you on your path of life as far as you want to go. My goal as a justice is to bring stakeholders together from all perspectives on how to turn the tide of addiction, as it is costing Ohio precious lives, lost opportunity to live a good, happy life, and the impact on the economy in every way imaginable, keeping people from meaningful jobs and locked in the cycle of poverty, jobs going unfilled, etc. And I’m very proud of our library system. It provides excellent items and programming to improve literacy. Again, as a justice I can promote such programs.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
I am not kidding, I am a beekeeper! That’s why I love The Matriots’ logo! It is a wonderful hobby. You can learn a lot from keeping bees, and it helps Mother Nature. Bees are pollinators and are critical to our food supply, from fruits and vegetables to the food animals eat. There has been concern over colony collapse, so beekeeping is growing as a hobby and business. Bee hives are not just found in rural areas, but suburban and urban settings. Expressions like “busy as a bee” or “beeline” really make sense because they are based in fact; bees are incredibly busy, work hard, and you can see two distinct lines coming and going from the hive.
One expression does have a negative, incorrect understanding: Queen Bee. In reality, the queen is the leader of the colony and directs the work. If she is healthy and a hardworking queen, the colony will thrive. If she is into drama and focused on being the center of attention, the colony will fail. So, too, for The Matriots and all of us who are endorsed candidates. If we channel our inner “queen bee” we will be effective leaders and make Ohio and our communities healthy, thriving places for all of us to live in.