Class of 2020 Endorsed Candidate: Kathleen Clyde

Kathleen Clyde has proudly spent her professional career dedicated to law and the political process. During the 2008 presidential election, Clyde worked for Early Voting Centers in Ohio. She then decided to take a step into public service and held a seat in the Ohio House from 2011-2018. She ran for Ohio Secretary of State in 2018 with The Matriots endorsement, and now serves as a Portage County Commissioner. Clyde fights for workers and rallied against the anti-collective bargaining in office. She supports women and is a tireless advocate for the Equal Pay Act. Clyde is now known as a national expert on voting rights issues and elections.


Meet the Candidate: Kathleen Clyde

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 Growing up, and as a young adult, I never thought I would ever run for office. But then in law school, I noticed a lot of men talking about what they would do when elected to office, and I learned that lawyers can be very skilled lawmakers and leaders. What I didn’t notice was any women in law school talking about running for office. So I decided to just say I would be running for office one day, hopefully to inspire more women to just join in the conversation. Little did I know that I would actually run for office myself, becoming the youngest elected woman in the Ohio legislature when I won my first election in 2010.

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?  The first campaign I ever worked on was my mom’s campaign for mayor of the tiny town I grew up in. She didn’t win that race, but she went on to serve for a decade on the town council. She taught me about battling sexism and standing up for myself. She taught me about hard work. She taught me how to look professional and to wear a jacket! She taught me to never take for granted my right to vote. She taught me to be pro-choice and pro-woman. So many important lessons, both said and unsaid – she will be with me always, and I’m so lucky for that.

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’m a lawyer, and I know you don’t have to be a lawyer to serve in elected office, but I often thought when I was serving in the legislature: “How do non-lawyers even do this stuff?!” It’s been so helpful to me when reviewing or coming up with legislation. It’s helped me when drafting testimony, and crafting speeches. Procedures can be tricky to learn or understand but having a foundation in the law can be a huge advantage.

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? We will not continue to stand for all of our statewide executive offices to be held by white men like they are now. In 2028, and hopefully sooner, I see women, including women of color, holding statewide executive offices here in our state. Ohio has never elected a woman Governor or U.S. Senator, and that’s record we should all set our sights on fixing. We must get started NOW!

5) Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community faces today? Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and, sadly, fighting poverty.

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. After the 2018 election, my boyfriend took me to Hawaii, which now means I’ve been to all 50 states! By the age of 39! How many have you been to?