Q&A with Louise Valentine
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF LEAD OHIO
We know the question on our members’ minds is what are The Matriots endorsed candidates up to? Whether representing their district, pursuing careers in the private sector or planning a future run for office, our Class of 2018 is changing the game!
Louise ran for Ohio Senate District 19 which includes the cities of Delaware, Powell and parts of Columbus.
1) You ran a hard-fought campaign in 2018, can you tell our members what you have been up to since the election?
After a tremendous effort in 2018 and coming up just short of a win for Senate District 19, I took some time with family over the Holidays and then joined LEAD Ohio as the Deputy Director. I previously spent 12 years in corporate retail, but wanted to stay in a more political field since I now have such an appreciation for how important it is to have great leadership in government.
LEAD Ohio is a non-profit that, among other things, helps train candidates in how to run for office with extensive programming, mentoring and networking. LEAD Ohio brings training classes to locations all across Ohio and has some new programs in development that focus on specific topics. I went through the LEAD Academy from October 2017-March 2018 and it helped me through the campaign process in so many ways. Now I’m excited to be a part of elevating it to the next level to continue grooming the next generation of diverse leaders!
2) In January we gathered our Class of 2018 candidates for a post-election candidate conversation, where we debriefed on our candidates’ experience in 2018. Can you share with our members one of the lessons you learned from running for office in Ohio?
Ohio is ready for more women leaders! I was prepared to get plenty of comments about how I could possibly run for office as a mom to young twins and get questioned as to why I thought I was qualified, but these things actually came up far less than I would have expected. I had support from such a wide group of individuals and more often than not, especially among women voters, they were excited to see a mom with professional skills on the ballot and not just another older white male.
3) We believe that when women are involved in the political process, they change the conversation. From your perspective, how did women change the conversation in 2018? And how do you think women will continue to change the conversation in 2019 and beyond?
I think in 2018 with so many capable women on the ballot, especially for legislative races, we as women proved that we are ready to make an impact at the Statehouse and have what it takes to compete in these races. Women picked up several legislative seats in Franklin County (and elsewhere) and all were running against men. Women in legislative races raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, knocked thousands of doors and built grassroots coalitions within their communities, all of which really opened the eyes of voters to see that when women decide to run, they are committed, capable, honest candidates. I think with the results from 2018 in mind, 2019 and beyond will continue to offer prime opportunities for women to continue to win seats… but only if we continue to recruit and support women so that they know they CAN do this. Let’s keep the dialogue going!
4) The Matriots PAC will endorse women running for city and school board seats in 2019. Why do you believe it is important to support women running for local offices in 2019?
If a woman has any thought that she may want to run for office, offering encouragement and support for her to run in a local race is so important. The 2019 non-partisan local level races are the perfect opportunity for women to throw their name in the ring for something they care about, whether it’s school board, township trustee or city council because typically the time commitment is far less than higher level offices and she won’t have to fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars to compete.
These races are a good way to test the waters of elected office before committing to something higher and are actually one of the best ways to have a direct impact on your community. Take your district school board, for example, school board members are making decisions throughout the year that affect the district budget, what infrastructure projects are prioritized and how to ensure state mandated curriculum is executed while still giving teachers flexibility in their lessons. This work all impacts the success of the students in the district… which is critically important for both the future of those students and for the community!
5) Now for fun: Tell us about your favorite thing to do in the great state of Ohio. It can be a hobby, a favorite place to eat or something we might not know about our state!
As far as a destination activity in Ohio, I love to go to Cedar Point. I’m a roller coaster lover and now that my kids are old enough to ride all the kiddie rides (and maybe this summer even some “big kid” rides) I enjoy creating these memories with them, too.