Class of 2020 Endorsed Candidate: Cheryl Stephens
The former Mayor of Cleveland Heights, Cheryl Stephens, has a proven track record of serving the residents of District 10 both as an elected official and as CEO of the East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation (EANDC). Stephens leads with a keen focus on protecting vulnerable populations: a daughter of a Veteran, she is a fierce protector of services for Veterans and senior citizens, and passed critical legislation outlawing discrimination against LGBTQ+ residents. Her strength and promise are in economic development, clearing abandoned homes, and supporting our schools to ensure community success.
Meet the Candidate: Cheryl Stephens
1) In your interview with the Endorsement Committee, you shared a personal life experience that led you to the decision to run for office. Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
I filed as a candidate because several of my involved and engaged constituents asked me to run after they met the county endorsed candidate. Their request was based on my knowledge of the county and my willingness to work to create better public service for my community.
2) Many of you cited a family member whose strength was an inspiration to you. Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
Retired State Representative Barbara Boyd became my mentor 32 years ago. She coached me and “voluntold” me into public leadership positions, boards, commissions, and a PAC; until I decided to run for office on my own.
3) Some of you are military veterans, some businesspeople, some professionals, some homemakers. How did one of these jobs shape who you are as a person and a leader?
My career in Economic Development and Housing caused me to focus on what benefit each dollar spent by a public agency brings back to the community. In each economic development project, there is a benefit ratio.
4) The Matriots PAC has a Big Hairy Audacious 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 my community is for more racial and ethnic diversity as well as women in leadership positions.
5) Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
First, lack of divisive leadership. We don’t just need nice people to run for office. WE NEED people who have the skills and knowledge to understand the issues facing our communities and more importantly, the willingness to roll-up their sleeves and find ways to get things done.
Second, we need more women and people of color as elected officials who meet the above criteria. This very reason is why I spend some of my time mentoring and recruiting women and candidates of color to run for office.
6) Now for fun: Tell us something personal about yourself. It can be a hobby, your favorite food, a funny pet story, something we might not know about you that you would like to share with our members.
I have two pairs of pink work boots. When I am on construction sites I wear my boots with pride! Women belong everywhere!