Class of 2020 Endorsed Candidate: Rachael Morocco
Dr. Rachael Morocco decided to run for the Ohio House of Representatives the day she was in the State House and was struck by the lack of diversity voting on legislation that affects all Ohioans. She is a physician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and professor at The Ohio State University who lives in Lewis Center with her husband and two young sons. She is a hard-working, practical, get-it-done professional who knows how to work with people who bring different beliefs and backgrounds to the table. Rachael wants to improve education funding and supports quality pre-K programs for all children.
Meet the Candidate: Rachael Morocco
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 had never been a very political person up until the 2016 election. I followed politics and was aware of what was happening but was never highly active. After watching the primaries of the 2016 race, I decided to start working for Hilary’s campaign. I canvassed and made phone calls for her. After the election, I felt discouraged and looked for another way to make a difference. I started volunteering with Moms Demand Action, which is a gun violence prevention group. As a pediatrician, I have seen many victims of gun violence and the impact it has on the survivors and wanted to work for change. During that time, I started spending time in the statehouse. We would attend committee meetings and floor votes when issues about guns were being discussed. I started to learn more about what was being addressed and not addressed at the state level and was not happy with what I was seeing. I realized that many of the issues that I see in my clinic as a pediatrician, such as healthcare and education, were not being addressed. This led me to start considering my run for office. There was one other event that further cemented my decision. I was in the statehouse on the day that the “heartbeat bill” was voted on. I was sitting there, looking down at the legislators, and was struck by the lack of women that make up our legislators. Women make up 52% of the state and we are not equally represented. It was at that moment, that I decided that I was going to run for office.
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.
My mother has been the biggest influence in my life especially pertaining to my career choices. My mom went to nursing school when I was young. She then worked as an ICU nurse and worked nights during my early school years. Back then I never realized how difficult that was for her. But, now as an adult, who has spent time working nights (although that was pre-kids for me), I have a new respect for how difficult that was. She then went back to school to get a degree in social work when I was in high school and then worked as a school social worker. She taught me over those years not only how to work hard but also how important it is for women to be a part of the workforce. She showed me that it is never too late to make changes to your career path and that anything is possible. She has always supported every career decision that I have made. As a working mother, it is easy to feel guilty about working and not always being with your children. It often feels that I am being pulled in a million directions and that I may be letting my kids down by not always being with them. However, as someone who grew up with two working parents, I know how important it is for my kids to see me not only working but also standing up for what I believe is important. I know that what they see me doing today will shape their views in the future. My children will learn the same lesson of gender equality that my mother taught me. Without her influence, I would not be the person that I am today.
3) Some of you are teachers, some businesspeople, some professionals, some homemakers. How has your career and life experiences shaped who you are as a person and a leader?
As a pediatrician, I have spent my career developing relationships with my patients and their families and helping them find solutions to the struggles they face. Over the years, I have encountered problems that, as a physician in a clinic setting, I could not fix. Issues with health care, the education system, and affordable childcare to name a few. I eventually realized I could do more to help. As a physician, I can only treat individual problems one patient at a time, but as a state representative, I can change policies that will positively affect children and families across the whole state.
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?
In 2028, I would love to see equal representation in all areas of government. The population of Ohio is currently 52% female and we deserve equal representation. If that were the case, I believe that many of the important issues that Ohioans are facing would be a priority in the statehouse. I know that change is slow, but I believe that if we put the right people in office, we can work to build a stronger Ohio.
5) Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
The two biggest issues are education and funding local governments in my district. Our school districts are heavily reliant on property taxes to fund the schools. We need to change our school funding so that every district receives a fair amount that reflects the true cost of educating a student. We also need to work to fund our local governments to provide them the means to improve the infrastructure and support the small businesses in our communities.
6) Now for fun: Tell us something personal about yourself. It can be a hobby, your favorite food or something we might not know about you that you would like to share with our members.
I am an avid runner. I have run 3 half marathons and my goal is to run a full marathon. My training for that though is likely to start after the election!!