Class of 2020 Endorsed Candidate: Judy Dodge
Known as a voice for those most vulnerable, Judy has spent her entire career in public service. From the Governor’s Office and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office – to her own elected office beginning in 2000, she is in her fourth term as a county commissioner. She has established a local Food Policy Coalition to expand food access and security, as well as co-developed a regional sustainability center, focused on energy reduction and green practices in business, government and residential environments. Her support of human services has been notable and with re-election, she intends to continue to enhance community efforts to manage the opioid crisis.
In 2021, Judy Dodge will continue to serve as a Montgomery County Commissioner.
Meet the Candidate: Judy Dodge
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?
Early in my career, I was married to an attorney who ran for judge. As I helped him with his campaign and worked on the campaign trail, I realized: “I can do this too.” Later in my career, I also worked for several other politicians and quickly realized that I was just as capable as they were to serve in public office.
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.
My Mother, Betty Reeder. She taught me unconditional love. She was an only child who was raised by her grandmother. My mother was rarely angry or spoke an unkind word, and was a genuinely sweet person. She always encouraged and supported my ambitions. She never criticized me and she let me learn from own mistakes. She was also a Montgomery County employee as clerk typist for the building regulations department until the late 1970s.
3) Some of you are teachers, some businesspeople, some professionals, some homemakers. How has your career and life experiences shaped who you are as a person and a leader?
As a single mother, I had a sincere desire to be a strong role model for my daughter and son. As young children, they saw me go to night school, and stay up late doing my homework while pursuing my degree in political science at Wright State University. I really wanted both of my children to be proud of their Mother.
4) 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?
Well, just like today’s all-female representation on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, I hope that we see more than 50 percent female representation at some levels of government by the year 2028.
5) Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
One of the most important issues is access to healthy food. Too many of our residents live in food deserts and struggle to obtain healthy, affordable food choices. So many grocery stores have moved out of our neighborhoods, leaving many residents with expensive transportation barriers in order to feed themselves and their families.
Another important on-going issue that our community faces is the opioid epidemic. While our community was successful in leveling off the highest ever overdose statistics from 2017, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has left many residents feeling disconnected from their healthcare and treatment providers and we’re seeing a rise in overdoses in 2020.
6) Now for fun: Tell us something personal about yourself. It can be a hobby, your favorite food or something we might not know about you that you would like to share with our members.
As a child, I was very shy and spent most of time curled up reading books. I was very nervous to speak in public. The first time that I ran for County Recorder, I stumbled through my first campaign speech, spoke very quietly, could not remember what I was going to say, and couldn’t wait to get off the stage! After many more campaign speeches, I became much more comfortable, and today you have to pry the microphone away from me!