Class of 2020 Endorsed Candidate: Nancy Larson

Nancy Larson, with a background in social work, has spent her professional career advocating for underrepresented groups and prioritizes the needs of women and families. She is fighting for affordable housing and healthcare, employment opportunities, an inclusive economy, and quality education. In addition, Larson is passionate about protecting farmers and the environment. Larson says that as a representative, she will be “a voice for all people.”


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?

I was working for hospice when my sister became terminally ill. I wasn’t able to get family medical leave to care for her because siblings are not considered close enough family to qualify for that type of leave. So, after using all my vacation and sick time, I quit my job and went to help her. After she passed, I had no health insurance because I had no job.

I went on the Affordable Care Act and thought –  this is not a choice that any woman in Ohio, (or in the country for that matter) should have to face. I’ve been working since I was 17 years old – and had worked consistently into my early 60s. As women, we are the main caretakers for our families, and we deserve a better social safety net. These experiences helped nudge me over the line to run for office.

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 thing I did in politics was volunteer for George McGovern’s presidential campaign when I was in college. I was in the first wave of people who could vote at 18. For canvassing, I was paired with a woman 15 years my senior and we became fast buds. We enjoyed almost 50 years of friendship until her death last year. My family was not supportive of me pursuing a college education but Carolyn was, and she became my wonderful Jewish mother, fostering a strong belief in my abilities.

We discussed politics and everything else about life. She cheered me on in all my pursuits. From her, I came to believe that I was up to challenges — even big ones. She helped me believe in my strength and ability to succeed. She modeled how to be engaged in the community and the world, up until the moment of her passing. She is still part of the wind beneath my wings.

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?

For the last 40 years, I have been a medical and psychiatric social worker, fighting for my clients. At times that meant helping dialysis patients get resources to pay for medicines or transportation. With felons with whom I worked, it meant pushing back against the criminal justice system sometimes and breaking through their denial of how they’d harmed people in their spheres. I learned that I could lead by being innovative in solving problems, and I could work with others to make changes happen. Mostly, I learned to persist in the face of struggle until gains were made.

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?

Not only will at least half of all elected offices in Ohio be held by females, but the Statehouse will be diverse in every way. I also envision universal health care, improvements in our climate, and a new light-rail system in our major cities. Lake Erie will no longer have harmful algal blooms, public schools will be fully funded, and … okay, maybe not 2028, but let’s aim for 2038!

5) Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community faces today?

Successfully putting COVID behind us and providing living-wage jobs for the people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic.

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.

Well……I’m an introvert. I don’t do small talk. 🙂 But….. once I jumped out of an airplane on something of a dare from a co-worker…… having to let go and trust that when the ground comes up to meet you, you will remember to roll and take the impact without breaking anything. I forgot to turn my parachute into the wind to help break my fall, but I only had to be on crutches for a sprained ankle for one day. A small price to pay for the thrill of the ride.