State Representative, District 65
Southwest Ohio, State Legislature
We are honored and excited to endorse Patricia Lawrence for Ohio House District 65. As a first-time candidate, she embodies the spirit and values that we, as an organization, seek in the women we endorse. We know she will work hard to create an economy in which women can thrive and prosper in Ohio.
“I am proud to stand with the Matriots and our shared values of economic stability, equality and dominion over our bodies As a former educator, I know that access to education and strong public schools is fundamental to creating vibrant communities.“
– Patricia Lawrence
House District 65 includes Loveland, Milford and Mount Carmel. 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?
Like many candidates, 2016 election results were shocking. Reading the news and complaining in the echo chamber with like-minded friends just wasn’t good enough. I formed the Loveland Action Team to build community, with the goal of supporting candidates. I didn’t set out to run, but realized a week or two before the filing deadline that seat would be open. That was simply unacceptable, so I filed the petitions and then figured out the campaign.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
My grandmother, Doris Shartle, was the family matriarch. In the 1960s, she was a charter member of the Urban League in Columbus. She introduced me to Margaret Atwood when she sent me a copy of Cat’s Eye. When I was in grad school, taking a course on women writers, she read my course syllabus along with me, so together we read Doris Lessing, Nadine Gordimer, Virginia Woolf, Audre Lorde and others. Throughout my childhood, I’d spend a week at my grandparent’s house each summer. We would go to the Ohio State Fair, shopping, lunch at OSU’s Faculty Club where my grandfather was a professor, and then attend the OSU theater. But my favorite part of spending time my grandmother, whom I called Dodie, were the hours we spent talking. She and I would drink tea from china tea cups and discuss social issues, the news, education and, once, when I was in college—birth control. She passed away in 1996, and if I could have her back for one hour I’d just want to hear her pragmatic voice.
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?
I don’t think it was a job so much as the people. I love being around sharp, strategic thinkers because there is always so much to learn from them. I have considerable board experience, so setting goals, building consensus and working through processes are skills I’ve refined along the way. And as educator by profession, continually learning is part of my fiber.
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 love your goals! Thank you. I am running in a very difficult district and fully aware that there is a big rock to push uphill; but if we don’t start today we will not be ready in 2028. First, we must recognize that arriving to 50% by 2028 will take us down multiple paths. My district requires a road map that is different from urban areas of our state.
- Building the “infrastructure” so that women are empowered to run is a must. I’ve dubbed the campaign volunteers “Team Trailblazers,” as we are fast learners, determined and enduring. Our network is rapidly expanding. This year we are always on the steep part of the curve, but we are keenly aware that that will make us the leaders and mentors for future elections.
- Progressive women must join committees and boards and become involved with the township and county leadership. As I attend meetings and go to events, I experience how the absence of voice impacts our standing in the community. We must show up.
My vision for 2028 is that we live in a place where communities come before divisive politics.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
- The local movement fund has been cut roughly in half and Clermont nears the top of the counties facing the worst of the opioid crisis. It’s a double whammy for resources. The lack of funding cuts into our schools, police force and basic municipality functions. We must have sustainable funding.
- The second issue is a state legislature that lacks the political will and courage to do what they know is right for people and communities.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
I am a terrible runner. In fact, I am so bad that in 2011, a bald woman who was obviously undergoing chemo treatments, slowed down to run with me. That encounter made my day and I wrote about it when I got home. We live near the Loveland bike trail and use it often, so for a long time I looked for her but after some months gave up as I didn’t know what she looked like with hair or even if she made it. Life went on including my own bald adventures through chemo-land.
Exercise went the wayside with the campaign until this summer, when I promised myself I’d at least walk first thing in morning. One day a woman stopped me to thank me for running—for office, not on the trail–and we had a nice chat. A few days later, I saw her again and as she ran off down the trail, I had a lightning-bolt moment of recognition. Today, my formerly bald friend is healthy and vibrant and sports short, cropped hair. She joined Team Trailblazers. Campaign karma at its best.