State Representative, District 88
Northwest Ohio, State Legislature
We are excited to endorse Rachel Crooks for Ohio House District 88. We know she will work hard to create an economy in which women can thrive and prosper.
House District 88 includes the Bellevue, Clyde, Fostoria, Fremont and Tiffin areas. Click here to find elected officials in your district.
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
I have been interested in politics since I took my first Political Science class in college, and since then, I have volunteered for campaigns and worked in the field of international higher education, which as one may guess, is heavily influenced by the political climate.
As many now know, I was one of the many women who came forward in 2016 to share my story of sexual harassment and assault by our now president, Mr. Trump. A year later when the #MeToo movement was unfolding, and many powerful men in various industries were suffering consequences for their actions, I became incensed that politicians seemed to shield Mr. Trump from any repercussions. At that point, I again spoke out to address this hypocrisy.
In doing so, a group of local progressive women in my area asked me if I would consider running for office, as they saw me as a strong voice and a person with perhaps the name recognition to win in our conservative leaning area. I mulled over this decision for several weeks, because I was uncertain how the public might perceive this as a misguided “agenda,” but in the end, I realized that I had been given a voice, and it was a duty to the people in my area to use it and promote the positive change that we so desperately need.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
My Aunt Barbara is a firecracker, to put it mildly. When she first married my uncle, I was about 8 years old. I remember hearing that she had kept her last name upon marriage, and she was a Democrat, which seemed to raise eyebrows in my conservative-leaning extended family. As a child who did not understand what that meant, I honestly remember thinking that Democrats must be a little wacky.
Obviously, as I grew up and became more educated, I learned that I too was a “wacky” Democrat, and I began to appreciate the wisdom and vivaciousness of my Aunt Barbara. At Thanksgiving in 2016, she and I decided that we were not going to miss out on the Women’s March in D.C. that coming January, and we took a charter bus from Columbus to D.C. together to experience that incredible day. I met so many incredible women and supportive men on that trip, and it will certainly be a memory I cherish for a lifetime.
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 have worked in higher education for over 12 years, and for the past 4 years, I have been pursuing my Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration whilst continuing to work full-time. What I love most and has most shaped me in this field is being able to work with the international students who have traveled thousands of miles to better themselves in the U.S., and they chose the small, rural community of Tiffin, Ohio in which to do so.
My style has always been to encourage collaboration when possible, and with the international students, there was an opportunity to get them involved in the greater Tiffin community and promote cultural exchange and awareness. Tiffin is primarily a white community, so most of the diversity present is indeed by way of the international student population.
Therefore, I worked with our local International Cultural Center to bring students to venues like the public schools, public libraries, and even local restaurants and service organizations so that the students could share their culture with folks who may have never traveled abroad or met someone who was culturally different from them.
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?
In addition to The Matriots’ fantastic goal of females being equally represented in the statehouse by 2028, I would also like to see that Ohio restore its place in the top 10 of our nation for education. We must establish a funding model for public education that is constitutional and quit diverting funds to for-profit charter schools that even further decrease the effectiveness of public schools. Education is essential for any democracy to thrive, and we have seen the deterioration of our education system result in today’s political divisive climate, lack of trust in the media, and gravitation towards authoritarian-style leaders.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
First, I am focusing on education. My district lost over $4 million to ECOT over the past six years, and my opponent took over $12,000 in donations from ECOT-founder, Bill Lager. I have received the endorsement from the Ohio Education Association, and I will work to restore proper funding to our public schools, and rein in the abuses of for-profit charter schools.
I am also focused on restoring the middle class. We must provide jobs with livable wages and have a fair tax structure, not one that benefits only the wealthy and corporations. I want everyone to have the opportunity to have a single job with a wage that allows them to work, provide for their family, and still have enough leftover to take a vacation. This should not be far-fetched, but in today’s world, it’s becoming the exception rather than the norm.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
My bucket list includes visiting all seven continents, and I have only two remaining to complete this: Australia and Antarctica. I have been fortunate through my work in international education and through personal travels to visit now 18 countries of five continents. I consider myself a curious person, so traveling and experiencing new cultures excites and intrigues me. The more different the culture, the more interested I am! If I was to settle somewhere other than the U.S. – and if I were to win the lottery – I would want a home in the French Rivera. Wouldn’t that be “Nice”?