Newark City Council, Ward 5
Mollie Prasher is ready to step into the position of Newark City Council representative for Ward 5. Her experience working as a Clerk of Council gives Prasher an insider look into how local government works. Throughout her career, she has supported women to get involved in politics as well. Alongside encouraging more of them to run for office, she has assisted in her local Girl Scouts troop operation for many years in hopes to see the next generation of women leaders rise to the challenge as she has. Her candidacy stands to increase the number of women represented on Newark’s City Council and continue inspiring other politically engaged women to follow in her footsteps.Volunteer with Mollie Facebook
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
My name is Mollie Prasher and I am running to represent Ward 5 on the Newark (Ohio) City Council in November. I have had a varied career from being a stay-at-home Mom and volunteer for 16 years, the membership director for my local YMCA, and a Clerk of Council for 14 years. I had a blessed life until I did not. My spouse experienced a stroke in 1997 and then struggled with mental health issues until our divorce in 2010. We faced both serious medical and financial issues. Following my divorce in 2010, I was faced with starting over from scratch with limited funds, a paid-for car, and a lot of stuff. I set a series of goals for myself and began the next phase of my life. Over the next 10 years, I worked to rebuild my life, expand my career and build a secure financial future. At the end of 2019, I had reached my goals. I was left looking for that next great adventure. I found inspiration in three women who ran and won the election to the City of Reynoldsburg Council. For eight months, I watched these women work to make a better life for their residents. Then one day, I received a postcard seeking candidates to run for the Newark City Council. I immediately knew that this running for City Council was my next great adventure. Helping people had been my career. Working to problem solve, collaborate, and serve my community had been my life. If these three women that I so admired could make the leap into politics, I certainly could. My 14 years serving various councils gave me the experience to know how government worked and I certainly had ideas on how to help improve my own City. My new goal is to continue to follow my passive of service and service to the people of Newark as the next Newark City Councilmember representing Ward 5.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top two issues your community faces today and how do you plan to address them?
The City of Newark, like many other municipalities, is facing a multitude of issues, so selecting just two is difficult. After much consideration, I intend to group my two main concerns into two areas – global issues (homelessness, heroin/opioid addiction, mental health issues) and Council integrity.
The City of Newark has problems with homelessness, heroin/opioid addiction, and mental illness. These issues cannot be addressed singularly but in combination. The interconnectedness of these issues is well documented. The main problem is the enormity of addressing these issues. There are no easy solutions and I certainly do not have a definitive answer. However, in Newark, the Council, the administration, and the community as a whole need to begin looking at taking small steps to at least address portions of these issues. The City paid for a study that looked at the issue of homelessness particularly, discussed the final report at one meeting, and shelved the report. We need to pull that report off the shelf and meet as a City with local non-profit organizations and local corporate organizations to begin discussing possible solutions. The City of Tulsa has spent the past ten years supporting a plan to bring affordable housing to its residents. Other cities have begun to review court procedures to direct appropriate drug offenders to rehabilitation programs. I want to initiate those conversations and at least face the issue head-on and discuss possible options. There is no possible solution if the issues are not openly discussed.
The other concern involves the City Council as a whole. The Newark City Council has become more of a rubber stamp group to the administration rather than setting policy and understanding and directing financial appropriations. Additionally, Council has demonstrated their lack of interest in engaging and listening to residents’ concerns. Councilmembers recently ended a committee meeting ten minutes after several residents wanted to make public comments. With my fourteen years of Clerk of Council experience, I am aware of the difference it makes to listen to community residents and their concerns. My platform is based on re-establishing a sense of truth, trust, and transparency in Council among the community.
What stands out in our values as most important to you and your experience (or expected experience) in public office? Our values are:
∙ Economic empowerment
∙ Equity and independence
∙ Dominion over our bodies
∙ Access to education
∙ Safe communities in which to live and raise our families
My immediate response is dominion over our bodies, but even after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision almost 50 years ago, women are still fighting the same battle. After deeper consideration, I believe that economic empowerment is the most important value. If enough women had economic independence, we would have the power to effect change to the other four values. Economic strength can be used to hold people down. Money talks. The only time money can be overtaken is by the many rising up. Economic empowerment provides options, choices, and the ability to seek help. Without a secure financial foundation, individuals end up playing catch-up or running in place, never feeling they can get ahead. Having a sense of financial security allows the mind to be open to opportunities and to have hope.
What does a Matriots PAC endorsement mean to you and your campaign?
It means that I am not alone. That I have “people” behind me and supporting me. My endorsement came at a time when I was feeling overwhelmed with the task that I had undertaken. The Matriots PAC endorsement reenergized and excited me to kick my campaign into high gear and WIN!