Class of 2020 Endorsed Candidate: Randi Clites
Randi Clites, the current District 75 Ohio House Representative and Class of 2018 Matriots-endorsed candidate, has worked hard to advocate for women and families; the first legislation that she sponsored as State Representative was the Equal Pay Act. A grassroots advocate at heart, Rep. Clites began her activism when her son was diagnosed with a rare genetic bleeding disorder—then leukemia—at a young age. She has since dedicated herself to giving back to the community that has given her so much, fighting to increase access to quality, affordable healthcare, improve community services and make Ohio a national leader in advanced energy technology. When re-elected, she will continue to be present in the conversation to prioritize female and child healthcare.
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 ran for office because after President Trump won in 2016 I knew I needed to step up to do more to protect our access to quality healthcare services. I believe there are lawmakers that think they are doing things to protect quality care, but that isn’t what it feels like to those that have to depend on healthcare services to survive. I wanted to give a voice to those that regularly struggle to make decisions between what doctors are prescribing and what they can afford to access.
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?
I have had a few female mentors that had a big influence on me. The one that sticks out to me the most, is the woman that served as a patient advocate that I called when I needed assistance with my sons’ medical bills. We kept falling through the cracks to receive assistance and I knew that it wasn’t right and could be fixed. I shared my frustration with her. She told me “one mom can’t change that issue.” I worked from that moment on to prove that one mom on a mission can be a catalyst for change. She and I became very good friends and went on to make changes in the program.
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?
My experience as a mom of a child that is medically fragile shaped me into the leader that I am today. Before becoming a mom I was an introvert that rarely made an effort to step up into the spotlight. Once I saw how much my son went through to survive, and the healthcare provider’s efforts to treat him, I knew I needed to make a difference for him and them. I started by becoming an advocate for Children’s programs, lowered drug costs, and protecting patients with a preexisting condition, and grew into the advocate that I am today for my whole community.
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?
Ohio women are proving to set the bar higher in what it means to be a public servant. By 2028 when women have equal representation, Ohio will focus on the issues that are truly impacting Ohioans and families instead of politically charged issues.
5) Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community faces today?
In Portage County, we must address funding for both K-12 public education and higher education. Equitable access to schools in all zip codes must be achieved this decade. Also, addressing access to affordable healthcare in Portage County. We have an aging and underserved population that needs to have quality care right here at home.
5a) As a Matriots endorsed candidate in 2018 you were elected and now serve as in elected office. What policy change or improvement are you most proud of from your time in office?
The policy change I am most proud of is passing my first bill through the House unanimously to create a Rare Disease Advisory Council. It is likely to pass the Senate and be signed into law this GA. Being a mom, advocate, and volunteer for the Departments of Health and Medicaid, and Akron Children’s Hospital, I saw firsthand that it was essential that a group be formed in Ohio that will advise legislation and administration of programs in the state.
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.
I love a good adventure. Whether it’s taking the scenic route instead of the most direct road or even on a hiking path. This has lead to creating a lot of great family memories. Once I thought it would be a pretty drive when we left Philadelphia to go down the NJ shoreline to get to Ocean City…I totally forgot that Southern NJ is a peninsula!