Sharon Sweda is Changing the Game

Q&A with Sharon Sweda

LORAIN COUNTY COMMISSIONER

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!

Lorain County is located in northeastern Ohio and includes the cities of Elyria, Vermillion and Avon Lake. 

 

1) You ran a hard-fought campaign in 2018 for Ohio Senate District 13. Can you tell our members what you have been up to since the election?

I immediately became re-engaged within the party and my community – as if the election had yet to take place.  I initially felt that it was therapeutic for me to stay busy as well as to help me determine my next step.  I had essentially passed the torch within my business in order to run for office.  I did not want to upset the new dynamic by returning.

Secondly, I needed time to evaluate my new direction with an emphasis in determining how to stay relevant. I felt that the campaign impacted and changed me in a way that would forever alter my purpose.

As fate would have it – staying relevant served me sooner, rather than later. A long-time County Commissioner announced his intention to seek the appointment for a vacated City Clerk of Courts position in November. In December he acquired the appointment, resigned as County Commissioner and on Feb 10, 2019, I was appointed to the vacated Commissioner seat in a run-off of 7 candidates. My term expires in 2020 when I will be campaigning again.

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?

We made the decision to fold into the coordinated campaign which resulted in ignoring the need to cut our own turf.

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?

Nationally, women made an impact in 2018 and will continue to make a difference provided we continue the momentum and focus.  Locally, gender never garnered the national momentum.

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?

I am excited to hear that you will support the local races, not simply because I am soon to be a county candidate, but because we know that good government begins on the local level. If we are going to change the landscape of Ohio elections, we need women at every level of government.

6) 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!

Black River Landing is located within Lorain, Ohio.  Lorain is a city like many in the Midwest, which have suffered over loss of its industrial base.  The city is working to revitalize and rebuild its downtown.

Black River Landing is 25 acres of Riverfront property used for festivals, picnics and my favorite, a summer concert series.The summer concerts are every Friday evening as well as some Saturdays. Cost is $5.00 for excellent cover band attractions. Black River Landing has been known to attract 4,000-6,000 attendees at every performance. There are food and beer trucks, and never any disturbances.

Louise Valentine is Changing the Game

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.

Susan Vaughn is Changing the Game

Q&A with Susan Vaughn

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!

Susan ran for Ohio House District 51 in 2018, which includes parts of the Cincinnati metro area. 

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 couple of months of R & R, enjoying my newly retired life (as of August 2018 32 years at Miami University), I’m now back in the race!  I am seeking a seat on Hamilton City Council.

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?

The people I met, the relationships that were created, the knowledge I gained about issues within my district, changed my life.  Though disillusioned at times and brief feelings of defeat, I realize I am a better person for having run for office (first attempt) and I am even more passionate about serving my community.

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?

Women changed the conversation because we bring unique perspectives to issues that impact everyone. There is strength in numbers and I believe The Matriots Class of 2018 caused people to listen and together, we were a stronger force. The women I met through Matriots events and within the endorsed Class of 2018, are unbelievably talented, dedicated to causes, educated, passionate and willing to wear many hats to accomplish our goals.

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?

I echo what I said above (#3). The Matriots endorsement, financial support and weekly communication/motivation all were extremely beneficial.

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!

Ohio, in particular Hamilton, Ohio, has been my home my entire life.  I have visited every corner of our beautiful state, hiked and biked the countryside, stayed in small inns, enjoyed fabulous meals in unique restaurants and met so many people who also call Ohio home.  But, there is no place like home, Hamilton! I invite everyone to visit Hamilton and enjoy the famous “Donut Trail”, wonderful music and entertainment at the beautiful River’s Edge, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, ArtSpace, bike trails and unique boutiques throughout our city.

Kathleen Clyde is Changing the Game

Q&A with Commissioner Kathleen Clyde

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

PORTAGE COUNTY COMMISSIONER

 

You ran a hard-fought campaign for Ohio Secretary of State. After the election, you were appointed as Portage County Commissioner. Can you tell our members more about your day-to-day responsibilities as commissioner?

For most Ohioans, county commissioners play a critical role in everyday life. We are charged with providing vital services on the state’s behalf, from elections, to justice and public safety, as well as infrastructure and human services. In my new role, I will continue to fight for quality economic development, workers and their families, and effective and efficient government.

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?

Although, we didn’t see the results that we worked so hard for on election day, I’m proud of the campaign we ran and honored to have been the only woman on the ballot for statewide executive office. With that said, there are always lessons to be learned.

It is undeniable that Ohio is growing older and less diverse, making the state less friendly toward progressive candidates. In no way does this mean we should give up the fight for Ohio, but we must do a better job connecting with independent voters, and even some republicans. Nonpartisan organizations like The Matriots can be essential to those efforts.

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?

Women changed the conversation in 2018 by showing up and taking action – whether it was attending marches, making a monetary contribution, talking to your neighbors or running for office themselves. Every action taken made a difference and I’m hopeful that the energy and engagement we saw in 2018, will only continue to grow as we head into 2019 and beyond.

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?

Supporting women candidates for local office is so important. It’s important because although we’ve seen increasing numbers of women running for office, we still have a long way to go. Investing in women early and at the local level will not only give women a voice locally but also help create a bench of women officeholders that can take on important issues at the state and federal levels.

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! 

It’s been great to live in Portage County full time and be able to enjoy our beautiful running trails. Whether it’s running the Portage Hike and Bike trail along the Cuyahoga River through downtown Kent or backroads in our beautiful rural townships, I love to get out and put some miles on my running shoes! I also recently discovered Icy Blast, a rolled ice cream shop in downtown Ravenna. It’s delicious and a great way to treat myself after a long run.

Conversation with Class of 2018 Matriots Endorsed Candidates

On January 16, we convened our 2018 cohort of endorsed candidates for a working dinner with our board of directors and endorsement committee.  We discussed how The Matriots was helpful last year and how we can improve our support of women candidates moving forward. It was incredibly stimulating and informative to have so many of our 2018 candidates–-incumbents and future challengers; women in statewide, county and local office—gather together to offer us their feedback. And, as exciting, to support each other moving forward.

This is how we will succeed: by lifting each other up.

Check out some of our favorite pictures from the event below and a special thank you to Dara Pizzuti, who helped facilitate this fantastic event.