State Representative, District 54
Southwest Ohio, State Legislature
Nikki is an inspiration and a needed voice in Columbus. We’re honored to endorse her campaign for Ohio House District 54 and look forward to what she will accomplish.
“The Matriots endorsement is incredibly important to me knowing that fellow Ohio women leaders believe in my campaign message of servant leadership grounded in integrity to fight for your family in Columbus.“
– Nicole Foster
House District 54 includes Lebanon, Mason and Middletown. 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?
My parents are both first-generation Americans who taught me the value of taking care of my family, serving my community, and helping others in need, and now those are the core principles of my campaign. As a child, I learned service through the Girl Scouts, where my mom was my troop leader, and I later attended Virginia Girls State to learn about the legislative process. After finishing high school, I attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, where I learned leadership skills and earned a degree in political science. After graduation, I attended Air Force pilot training, where I met my husband and earned my pilot wings. Over the next decade, I flew 217 combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan, first as a copilot and later as an aircraft commander and instructor pilot. Following my military career, my husband, son, and I settled in Mason, Ohio. As a businesswoman for General Electric Aviation I have learned the negotiation, financial, and talent acquisition skills necessary for me to be a well-rounded candidate. I now feel ready to jump in the arena as a qualified servant leader for the 54th Ohio State House District.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
My mother, Joyce, is one of my biggest role models and inspirations. She married my father, Bruce, after they immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands and the Philippines, respectively. She began her career as a secretary, working long hours to provide social, athletic, and educational opportunities for my siblings and me. She selflessly put off her own goals and dreams for our benefit, but never gave up and followed through. My mother attended college throughout adulthood and raising children; I was proud when she earned her bachelor’s degree at 52 years old. Today, she is a successful civil servant who enjoys her role as a supervisor, wife, grandmother, and as a mother of two successful professional women.
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?
As a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy, I learned how to hone my leadership skills on the field as an All-American and two-time National Champion rugby player. During my career as a military officer and combat pilot, I supervised hundreds of airmen and was often the highest-ranking female in my squadron, acting as a mentor to the younger women with whom I served. I deployed five times and flew 217 combat missions, flying air refueling and reconnaissance missions over the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan. While flying the KC-10 aircraft, I conducted aerial refueling with fighter aircraft, which were providing close air support for the Army soldiers and Marines on the ground. As an MC-12 pilot, I communicated with special operations troops on the ground, providing the location of valuable targets or warning of an upcoming ambush. Lives were at stake every single day, and these missions required calm, level-headed decision making in high pressure situations. I have proven leadership experience and am now ready to take on my next mission by running for the Ohio State House of Representatives in the 54th District.
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 Ohio is a state in which everyone has a voice, feels safe at work and school, and can seek a better life through educational and occupational opportunities. Creating a legislature as diverse as the population is a major step toward realizing this vision. Women, racial minorities, and the LGBTQ community are all underrepresented in local, state, and federal offices. In 2028, I want to live and serve in an Ohio legislature that looks more like the population it is supposed to represent.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
Public Education: We must properly fund pre-K through vocational training for all Ohioans. A strong public education system means a strong educated workforce to grow our economy. We must stay competitive in the global market by having highly trained and well educated workers.
Drug epidemic: We must acknowledge the drug epidemic and solve problems leveraging best practices to assist with recovery without simply incarcerating minor drug offenses, believing that will solve the larger problem. We must use a combination of community outreach and drug treatment to rehabilitate struggling drug users. Helping our community heal will have a lasting positive impact throughout Ohio.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
While flying a combat refueling mission over Afghanistan in 2008, I was about 10 hours into my flight and was scheduled to return to the base and land, but I had an extra 80,000 pounds of fuel on board that needed to stay over the combat zone. My husband, Rob, had taken off much later and was able to take the fuel from my plane into his and stay airborne longer. So that night, I refueled my husband’s airplane at 28,000’ and 330 knots over the mountains of Afghanistan.