Class of 2020 Endorsed Candidate: Jessica Miranda
Jessica was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives for District 28 in 2018 as a Matriots endorsed candidate. Rep. Miranda is a mother of three, a small business owner, and a lifelong resident of Southwest Ohio. Jessica believes the government has the responsibility to create quality of life standards under which families can flourish. She knows the 28th district will prosper only with the creation and maintenance of an educated workforce, increased job opportunities, improved infrastructure and transportation, increased technology access.
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?
This is my third time running for Ohio House District 28. I first ran in the 2016 election cycle, at the encouragement of two female giants in Hamilton County. My husband and I found out I was pregnant shortly after filing my petitions to run, and ultimately lost that race. However, I came back around in 2018 more determined than ever. We ran an aggressive field campaign and knocked on over 34,000 doors. We were successful this time, winning by a margin of 56 votes and unseating the Republican incumbent. I am running for re-election for the first time, and while these are unprecedented times, I am excited for the opportunity to once again represent my constituents. As a young millennial, mom of three, former school board president, and small business owner, I believe that representation and having a seat at the table is critical for progress. Running for office and being all of those things and a candidate is not easy by any means, but I encourage all women to at the very least consider running for local office. Your voice is both welcomed and needed.
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?
I have several family members whose strength and grit have inspired me. My mother showed me what perseverance truly means: working several jobs to keep a roof over our heads and to keep food on the table for me and my sisters. Her hard work taught me determination and work ethic. Her struggles also taught me what I was NOT going to do when I grew older. It is difficult coming from a single-mother household and furthermore an extremely blended family. But somehow my family, with love and understanding, has made this work. I spent my school years here in Ohio with my mom and my summers in Charlotte with my father and stepmom. This experience gave me an immense understanding of the leader I have become today. Everything I have done in my elected capacity springs from compassion. Our students in the Winton Woods City School District are my first priority – they come first. Just like in my personal life with my own daughters. This is the type of leadership we need in Columbus right now. We can not wait any longer – we must elect women now and continually in the future to set the record straight on the quality of life our families deserve here in our state.
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?
I am a mom, a business owner, and the Board of Education president for the Winton Woods City School District. All of these aspects shape who I am as a leader and as a person today. All of these aspects of my life give me a multi-faceted lens on policy and procedure, which allows me to see all different angles of an issue or opportunity. I have a very aggressive drive to succeed and multi-task. As a woman, I get a ton of folks who say to me “How do you do all of this?” “How can you juggle being a mom of young children and run for office?” And I say, it’s just who I am, it’s my coping mechanism. I am not the type of person who can sit around and do nothing. I work best when there are several demands or several goals we are trying to achieve collectively. I often tell my colleagues that public service is not the art of politics – it’s the process of knowing what the goal at hand is and working to achieve this goal for all we serve. Any given day of my schedule starts out getting my two older girls up very early to get ready for school and then getting my two-year-old to her Spanish-immersion daycare. Then I am off to my office, where I take care of my clients to make sure they have what they need to protect their families’ assets. Then I complete hours of call time, try to fit lunch in, and fill my afternoons and evenings with campaign events, school and extracurricular pursuits. Taking my girls back and forth to jiujitsu; knocking on doors in between to reach voters; and fitting in my board meetings, Forest Park Chamber meetings, Economic Development Commission meetings, etc. It sounds overwhelming and at times it can be, but my family and I find a way to conquer because we know that being a part of your community and working for the greater good is so fulfilling. This is the type of legacy I want to be known for. This is why I will be a tireless, strong, and tenacious state representative. I will never stop working for my 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?
I have a big hairy audacious goal to be elected to Congress by 2025 when my oldest daughter graduates high school. So my vision for 2028 is to not only have 50% of Ohio offices held by women, but to see 52% of ALL offices held by women from the schoolhouse to the courthouse to the Statehouse AND to the White House!!!
5) Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community faces today?
My community and our state are experiencing a budgeting crisis, which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. This is due to two big issues our legislature has single-handedly created. First, the intense cuts to our local government funds. This has robbed our local governments of the resources necessary to fund our public-safety and infrastructure necessities. This has also affected our counties and our local income taxes such as in the city in which I live. The city of Forest Park had to decrease our annual income tax credits, which have placed a big strain on our working families. This is a critical issue that needs to be fixed immediately in our next state budget. Second, the ongoing attack on public education. Our State Legislature does not invest in education as we should here in the State of Ohio. We can see this reflected in our scores and placements across the nation. Ohio ranks 36th in overall education PK-12 while ranking 37th in Pre-K quality across the United States. We cannot continue to shift funds away from our most precious investments, which create the quality of life all Ohioans deserve. Education is the great equalizer and we must do better and put establishment politics aside to invest in education and our local communities.
5a) As a Matriots endorsed candidate in 2018 you were elected and now serve as in elected office. What policy change or improvement are you most proud of from your time in office?
I am most proud of the drastic improvements we have made within our office to overhaul constituent services. We now go out of our way to engage with constituents on many fronts, from responding to emails and phone calls, to sending commendations for graduations, moving into a new home, and other accomplishments, being as informative and accessible as possible in this position. I am proud to represent the 28th district and to serve the constituents who inspire me every day.
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.
Lots of young girls grow up wanting to be a singer or actress or princess. As a kid, I grew up wanting to be a stand up comedienne! So you will see I frequently work comedy into my speeches. I am just an all-around goofy and fun-loving person. One of my personal mottoes is, if we aren’t having fun we aren’t living. I try not to take things too seriously and remain a kid at heart for my children and for my own sanity. This could be why I took the smear ads so well. Call it a thick skin or just being able to laugh uncontrollably at the House GOP’s attempt to make me look like a bad person. It’s comical the lengths they will go – they have no shame!