Gahanna City Council
Merisa Bowers, an experienced attorney and activist, is seeking her first term as a member of Gahanna City Council, at-large. She believes that City Council members and meetings should be available to all residents of Gahanna. Merisa wants to bring City Council to the residents of Gahanna. Merisa has vision, excitement, and a skill-set that will wellserve the Gahanna community.
In 2020 Merisa will begin her work as a Gahanna City Council Member.Website
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
I grew up with strong family ethos of community activism and public service. Getting involved in politics was part of who I was in utero.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
I come from a line of strong women – women who pursue education, who pursue careers, and who use their voices to challenge, inquire, and seek to create more equitable and better institutions. I grew up very close to my grandmother, Louise Nader, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, who in the 1940s cared more about a graduate degree than a husband, and more about literature and language than cooking dinner, all while showing her family that she loved them and cared about their success, too.
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?
Even though I think it was in my DNA, I resisted becoming an attorney, first attending school for architecture, then taking time off after my undergrad degree to think about my options. But I’m grateful for all the work experience I had before law school, in kitchens, call centers, small businesses, and offices. Every one of us, whether the captain of the ship or the oarsman, are crucial to the journey.
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 want to see women not just in elected office, but sitting and serving on commissions and committees, making development decisions as CEOs, and designing projects as urban planners and architects. Gender imbalance in all aspects of our communities perpetuates sexist institutions and systems. Specifically, I want to see childcare options at and video streaming of all public meetings. That will help not just women but younger, child rearing people be more involved.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
The top two issues are protecting our children and our environment. Our region will continue to grow dramatically over the next couple decades, as Gahanna has already seen in the last 30 years. We must be intentional in planning for this continuing regional growth and how it impacts Gahanna. We must advocate for how we want our city to grow both commercially and residentially, and resist negative and unsustainable sprawl such as the conversion of residential property to low-quality commercial development. This is important to protect our most valuable assets – our children and our environment. We need to do this through sustainable practices, setting policies that protect our environment, and insisting on development that will weather economic ups and downs.
Continuing to protect our residents and neighbors must be the top priority. This specifically includes keeping people physically safe on our roads – drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Infrastructure must be built to keep people safe, including sidewalks especially in business districts.
Also in line with these two most important objectives are addressing the hardest questions of our times with nuance: how to address gun violence while respecting Constitutional rights, how to encourage job growth while both supporting small and midsize businesses and protecting the environment, and how to protect and empower those who are vulnerable within our community.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
Curt and I have a son, Everett, who will be three in December. He is the light of our world and makes every day brighter. He loves saying “Mommy for City Council! BAM!” but not as much as he loves the train at the Zoo. For fun, we look for toads in the yard, garden, and play tag.