Class of 2020 Endorsed Candidate: Dara Adkison
Growing up the child of teachers, Dara Adkison had strong role models for advocacy. Her first attempt to influence policy was a letter she wrote to the Governor when she was in the fourth grade. She continues to be committed to the betterment of all, especially in the areas of equal rights, safe working environments and living wages. As an experienced data engineer, digital privacy is important to Dara. Her leadership as president of Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, her compassion as a mother, and her professional expertise for process and collaboration combine to make Dara a formidable first-time candidate.
Meet The Candidate
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?
In my capacity as the president of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, I had been helping the House and Senate Dem. Caucuses find candidates to jump into races that did not yet have any Democrats running. We weren’t finding anyone to jump into my home district, House District 57, and it felt like the right thing to do. As the mother of a small child, I’ve found myself called to step up and do even more to make the world better. Jumping into this race was just a logical continuation of that effort for me. In my experience, many of the best politicians are those who come from other careers and paths and use those skills to serve their constituents better.
2) Many of you cited a specific person whose strength was an inspiration to you. Can you tell me about a woman who has had a big influence on your life and inspired you to become a leader? What lessons did she teach you?
Many women have had great influence on my life, but my wife has had immeasurable influence over who I am today. In our life and relationship together, we’ve grown into the adults we are today. Throughout, she has always supported me and my drive, giving me the confidence to venture outside of my comfort zone. No matter the career, pursuit, or goal, I know she believes in me and has my back. When I was first thinking about running for the statehouse, we had some pretty serious conversations about my potential decision. The deciding factor that helped me know I was making the best decision was seeing how excited she was for me, knowing the good I could do for the people of our state. Having that kind of champion by my side helps me be the woman I am today.
3) 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 a leader?
My experience as a parent and a mother has helped me grow as a person and a leader. We need more parents of young children in elected office who understands first-hand the unique challenges of raising a child in Ohio, both before and during the pandemic. I’m both a woman with a technical engineering background and a queer parent to a young child. I have lived experiences working in a predominantly male field and in learning how to navigate spaces that weren’t built for me. In both areas, I’ve found success and learned how to thrive there despite all of that. There is so much more that our government can be doing to help Ohio families, and seeing that has made me want to make a difference in our community.
4) The Matriots PAC has a bold goal to see 50% of all elected offices in Ohio held by women by 2028. What is your vision for Ohio in 2028?
2028 is a long way away, with rising fascism an immediate and future threat to American democracy. We can prevail through this and fight to achieve universally available childcare, universal parental leave, affordable healthcare devoid of surprise costs, environmental policies that make Ohio the healthiest state, preserve our beautiful parks system, have an equitable and well-funded public education system, and put an end to the toxic money culture persistent in Ohio politics.
5) Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community faces today?
Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. We need to do everything possible to make healthcare more affordable and accessible in Ohio.
Cost caps should be placed on more prescription drugs. No one should have to choose between whether they can pay for their insulin, their heart medicine, or their food. We also need to put a stop to surprise out-of-network procedural expenses. Everyone needs healthcare at some point in their life, and the costs of living a healthy life shouldn’t prevent my constituents getting the care they need.
Teachers should not need to choose between the health and safety of themselves, their families, and their classrooms when teaching in the fall or the future.
Universal broadband access needs to be a public utility required in all areas so that every child has access to the internet. This has been an increasing necessity with the changing nature of communication and information, and this need has only exacerbated in the pandemic and the unique problems it has caused.
We also need to redo the school funding formula to be equitable in every community and to no longer be based on property tax. Every child in our district deserves a good education with ample opportunity to succeed both in and out of the classroom. This is regardless of what area of the district or state they live in every child deserves those opportunities.
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.
Throughout my life, I’ve been a creative person. Whether it’s through art, of which I’ve practiced my whole life, or in using out of the box problem solving to find solutions. One aspect of this is in parenting, as finding activities to do with a toddler who’s an avid learner and explorer. This has led to something we call ‘Going Halloween’, which is a great game my toddler and I created over the past several months. We would put on various ‘Halloween’ costumes and drive through our neighborhood to where there are cows, horses and other farm animals. He enjoys showing our costumes to the cows and horses, explaining to them what they are while getting to see animals. It’s a fun solution when things have been closed, as we have something to do together even when there were few places open for us to go to.