Class of 2020 Endorsed Candidate: Kathy Wyenandt
Kathy started her political career in 2008, volunteering on the Obama campaign, launching Change Butler PAC, and holding a leadership position in the county party. Her focus for her 2020 campaign is reducing healthcare costs, economic growth, increasing educational opportunities and protecting the funding for students facing developmental disabilities, and reducing gun violence. Kathy is an advocate for the people, and if elected, she will make sure to put the people of Butler county over politics. In 2018, as a Matriots endorsed candidate, Kathy ran a very competitive race for the statehouse in Ohio’s 52nd district.
Meet the Candidate: Kathy Whenandt
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 have been involved in our community for many years, from the PTA to the Athletic Boosters to the Board of Elections, the Regional Transit Authority, and the County Democratic Party. Over the years I have seen our public schools struggle with a significant loss of state funding and failed levies. Our last failed levy meant a lot of good teachers lost their jobs and our curriculum suffered. We also had to pay to play extracurricular activities and lost busing. So, I volunteered to serve on our next levy campaign, which we finally passed – barely. That is when I learned about our unconstitutional, inadequate, and inequitable school funding model at the state level. When I realized just how critical this issue was – and that our current delegation isn’t going to even address it – I knew it was time to run.
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.
During my sophomore year in college, I had the opportunity to spend an evening with then U.S. Representative Patricia Schroeder, (D) – Colorado. Rep. Schroeder served in Congress for many years, and had run for president in the 1988 Democratic primary. She shared behind-the-scenes stories from her years of service, but one stuck with me the most. She was asked during her first congressional run how she thought she could manage running for congress and being a mother at the same time. She quipped back that she had a brain and a uterus and was able to use them both. I still think of that, especially now, as I’m running for office with four children.
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 leader?
My background is diverse. I graduated from Miami University with degrees in political science and psychology. I worked in market research and then moved on to pharmaceutical sales and then management as our family needs changed. Along the way, I opened a small business in interior decorating, turning my creative outlet into an income. I’ve been very involved in the community serving on boards and volunteering with a variety of groups for many years. I think what has shaped me the most as a leader has been my involvement with the Lakota Local School District. It’s there that I’ve really learned to appreciate the unique talents and gifts of others and honed my skills in project management. Good leaders know how to collaborate and empower.
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?
I would love to see gender equity in elected offices by 2028. I would also love to fairer districts in which voters hold their elected officials accountable. The state of politics today, with dark money having such an influence against a backdrop of gerrymandered districts, is frustrating. We need serious change in Ohio and beyond in order to save the spirit of our democracy.
5) Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
We are in unprecedented times, to be sure. A global pandemic, near-record unemployment, and a major movement for racial justice are shaping everything that we do daily. With that in mind, I think it’s crucial that we work to rebuild Ohio’s economy in a way that works for everyone, from small businesses to families. We need to invest in strong schools, in reliable infrastructure, and in healthy communities. We need to do all of that through a lens of equity. In order for all Ohioans to have a chance to live the American dream, we need to make sure that we all start at the same starting line. We have a lot of work to do to make sure that’s the case.
6) Now for fun: Tell us something personal about yourself.
I love to dance! I am a retired NFL cheerleader – Cincinnati Bengals – Who Dey!