Class of 2020 Endorsed Candidate: Paula Hicks-Hudson

Before representing Toledo’s 44th House District, Paula Hicks-Hudson served as the first Black female mayor of Toledo. Additionally, she has worked as an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, assistant public defender, assistant state attorney general, legislative director of the Toledo City Council, director and deputy director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, and chief legal counsel to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management under Gov. Ted Strickland. Most recently, she was elected as Minority Whip for the Ohio Minority (Democratic) Caucus. With her efforts during her 35-year professional career, Paula has the skills and experience to lead Ohioans with conviction and dedication.

In 2021, Representative Paula Hicks-Hudson will serve in the 134th Ohio General Assembly.


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 came to elected political office after serving as Chief Legal Council to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management and a professional career at local, state and federal levels.  This particular step was out of my personal character but was fueled by a woman who was my mentor and friend.  She asked me whether I could and would use my skills to help the citizens of the district where I live.  Would I be willing to “advocate”?  Seeing the devastation that urban neglect and other things, I answered by saying, “Yes!”

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?

There are several women who are an inspiration to me.  Outside of the women in my family, I think there are 2 women, one national and one local.  But, both with a drive for excellence and boldness.  Rep. Shirley Chisholm visited Spelman College when I was a student.  She talked about the need for women to be engaged in the political arena.  She also talked about the difficulties of being accepted because she was female.

The second person is Mrs. Lola Glover, who is retired now but still an advocate for children and families.  She taught me to be clear about the goal you are trying to achieve.  But most importantly, that goal must have an empowerment component so that others will be able to carry on if you are now there.

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?

As a lawyer, who has had a small private practice for much of my professional career, I understand the challenges of maintaining a business, raising a family and being engaged in your community.   What these experiences have done is help me to prioritize those things that are important.  And I am able to reassess and reevaluate my commitment and actions.

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? 

My plan is to continue the work that I am doing and have been doing.  I will continue to be an example of a public servant, encourage other women to seek elected office and be more visible in public spaces.  I will continue to seek out, help develop and encourage other women.

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

Health and Employment.  I am looking at the broad spectrum of providing a healthy community where all the issues are connected.  We continue to have a health care system that is based upon racists and sexist ideas that continue to put people at risk.

Employment also flows from the same place.  It is extremely important that the barriers are reduced so that women have full access to opportunities, wages and benefits.  Unless we provide laws and opportunities.

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.

Before this job, I considered myself as a pipe organist.  But, I am not able to practice like I use to.