Cathe Kobacker is a woman of many titles. She is one of the original founding marchers who returned from the 2017 Women’s March with an idea that more women in elected office could be the solution to our country’s political stalemate. She is one of The Matriots most loyal supporters, a Matriarch, and a member our our Research Committee. She is a community activist who helped found The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, served on the board of the YWCA, and has dedicated over 30 years of her life to advocating for end of life care. In 2004 in Cathe was recognized as a YWCA Woman of Achievement for her many years of community service. Cathe is an amazing woman, Matriot and member of the Columbus community – we are proud to count her among our hive!
Cathe, you are one of The Matriots PAC original founding marchers. You traveled to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March in 2017 and returned with the inspiration to create The Matriots PAC. Can you share with our members why you think The Matriots’ vision for more women in elected office is the solution to today’s political rancor?
When we returned from the Washington March the founding marchers sat down and consensus was that marching was not enough. The amazing thing is that I was struck by the wide range of ideas that were given a hearing. The path was made clear after by much research and interviews with Trail Blazers.
The idea that we could sit with a group of strong-willed women with diverse points of view and come up with the PAC idea is a perfect example of why we need more women in political office. Thanks to the PAC and Sally Crane Cox’s coming up with the name The Matriots I know we are doing something important. Keep in mind we are 51% of the population and have 21% of the political representation in Ohio.
In 2004 you were recognized as a YWCA Woman of Achievement for your many years of community service and activism. What is your advice to women hoping to make difference in their communities?
Believe in what you are doing and gather interested people around you. There is a lot of talk about passion these days and I think of it more like what my Mother used to call “stick to it ness”. Recognize what you are good at and find people who have skills you do not. I got important training from my fellow board members of the YWCA. Hospice volunteering and the Harmony Project Tapestry choir at the Ohio Reformatory for Women have taught me that there are important and satisfying lessons in all volunteer work.
You’ve invested more than three decades in community hospice efforts, a passion that took you around the world to study best practices and culminated in a TED Talk in 2016. Can you tell our members what you learned on your journey and how you found this passion for hospice and palliative care?
Forty years ago a close family friend was dying of a brain tumor. There was no hospice care in her community so a “we group “ formed to support her family.
When I returned to Columbus I found we had a hospice program in Columbus and I signed up as a volunteer. Supporting Good, wholistic end of life care has become a driving force in my life. I also have worked to change vocabulary so that people living with a life limiting illness are not required to use battle metaphors unless they themselves choose those terms.
The Matriots endorsed 34 women in 2018 and 9 women in the May primary election. Can you tell our members about a candidate who inspires you and why?
How to pick? What impressed me about the candidates was the diversity of training and experience they brought to their races. The experience of doing research on these women made it clear to me that we are on the right path to have more women in all levels of Ohio politics.
Now for something fun: Tell us about your favorite thing to do in the great state of Ohio. It could be a hobby, a favorite place to eat or something we might not know about our state!
One of my favorite hobbies is watching equine competitions. Two young women I have known most of their lives compete at national and international levels in different disciplines. They are cousins and both are from Columbus, Ohio (Ellie O’Neal and Ali Wolff) they make me proud every time I watch them.
My other is walking half-marathons. I have walked eight 1/2 Columbus Marathons. Nothing like thirteen miles on a cold October day..come join me.