I grew up as the fourth of a family of five children in Greenhills, Ohio and enjoyed a quiet childhood of riding bikes around the neighborhood and playing in the creeks of Winton Woods. Some of my favorite memories from when I was young was when we would take the bus with my mother to visit my father downtown at City Hall where he spent his career in the City Solicitor’s Office. There was a candy shop under one of the staircases and between the promise of candy and the beauty of the shimmering, stained glass windows, visiting City Hall was always a treat.
When us kids were older, my mother went to work also for the city as a clerk for the Contract Compliance Office working across the street from City Hall until her retirement. It remained a special occasion to go downtown and meet her for lunch in the city in her later years working there.
I went to public schools in Greenhills and Springfield Township from K-6th grades and then went on to finish my schooling in parochial schools, graduating from Roger Bacon High School in 1995. I majored in Communications Education with additional studies in theater education and reading instruction and graduated from Miami University in 1999.
I moved back to Cincinnati after college and now my family lives in Mt. Washington with our two children who will be turning 13 and 11 in the spring of 2021. I have worked for Cincinnati Public Schools as a substitute teacher for the last four years dividing my time between Hyde Park School, Mt. Washington School, and Walnut Hills High School.
There is more to my story which my previous work experience breakdown will go more into detail about, but suffice to say, I was like many busy mothers (managing my family’s life and schedule, coaching SAY soccer, directing elementary musicals, teaching and leading Sunday
School at our Unitarian Universalist church) when I found myself volunteering for something very new and very big.
Last year I ran for Congress and was the Democratic Candidate for Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District. I ran for that office because as a voter and constituent of the district, I wanted a choice that better stood for the values that I held dear. I did not have any prior interest in politics, but a leader was needed and waiting around for one was not an option. I felt that too many politicians were not putting the people first and I wanted to be a voice for folks who wanted change. I did not win that race and knew my chances were not great with how the district was drawn, but I have no regrets that I stood up. I met so many people and connected with many stakeholders in our city and beyond. I helped to register voters, worked with other candidates helping elect the Democratic slate, helped organize donation and fund drives, sewed hundreds of masks for people in the early days of the shutdown, gave speeches and interviews, participated in debates and forums, marched in peaceful protests, attended and spoke at rallies and marches AND had to maneuver and campaign through a pandemic!
I was proud of my role in fighting for Democracy last year and I am still anxious to get to work for the people. This year I have the opportunity to run for an office where I can serve the people of Cincinnati as a Councilwoman. I see so much more potential for our wonderful city. Cincinnati is a great place to live and we have many things going for us from a vibrant arts and music scene to professional sports teams. We have beautiful parks, a variety of world class food and beverage offerings. I want to build on and celebrate our culture and image. I want Cincinnati to be a place where if you have children and if they so choose, they will want to stay and raise their families here. I want Cincinnati to have a national reputation for excellence all around and where people will want to visit or migrate to. But most importantly, we need to better work together here in Cincinnati for all people who call this home. We need to invest in people from supporting education and career development, to being proactive in decreasing generational poverty. There are so many organizations here that the city can strengthen partnerships with. I plan on always being proactive – showing up to work, meeting with and listening to folks to learn how the city can better serve them, and then acting by providing exceptional customer service here and now while looking to our future. People are and will always be my priority. I offer to you all a servant leader dedicated to civic service and never self-service.
My memories growing up in Cincinnati and visiting City Hall are so dear to me. There is nowhere else that I would want to call home. I’m asking you for your support and your vote to help me return to Cincinnati City Hall but this time as your Councilwoman!
After graduating from Miami University in 1999, I went back to Roger Bacon High School and taught English and directed the theater productions. I had had a great high school experience being very active in school government, soccer, choir, and theater and wanted to be the same kind of good influence to my students as my teachers had been to me. My years at Bacon were very formative. Many big events happened during this time including 9/11 and the 2001 riots stemming from the killing of Timothy Thomas. The students that I had during these years have become very dear to me. Being a teacher means having strength in interpersonal skills, communications skills, creative and critical thinking skills, problem solving and resourcefulness skills – you truly have to learn how to do more with less and deliver high quality results. Overall teaching is about wanting to help and guide others and teachers are some of the best people that I know!
Before, during, and after my teaching career, I worked part time in the service industry. This helped me to pay off school loans but also taught me so much regarding customer service and going above and beyond for people. You also learn a lot about people when working in the field – some of the most hard-working folks I know have been through my experience in restaurants. I have learned a lot about the struggles that small businesses and restaurant workers face as well.
Between teaching and getting married and having my two children I went to Hondros College and learned Real Estate Law and all the other courses one takes to be certified in real estate. Being a Realtor taught me a lot about the neighborhoods in Cincinnati that I had not experienced before. This was back as early as 2003 so I have seen how far development has come in many parts of the city and I have seen many let downs as well. I worked at an apartment leasing company during the real estate bubble burst and I saw first-hand the struggles that renters face. I have also been a landlord as the first house that we bought we tried to sell during the bubble burst and ended up renting it out instead for years. Being on both sides of the housing market has taught me a lot about empathy for people’s situations.
When my children were school-aged, I became very involved in volunteering in their school and ended up running the PTO for years, building it up and raising funds to benefit the children. I had been helping teach Religious Education at my Unitarian Universalist Church for years and being back in the schools made me realize how much I missed that energy. That is when I decided to work for Cincinnati Public Schools to see if returning full time to teaching would be the route that my life would go. During this time, I served as the President of The Board of Trustees for my church as well and I was coaching youth soccer and directing elementary musicals – so working as a substitute teacher afforded me scheduling flexibility. Being back in education and in leadership roles further developed my abilities to work with people and to problem solve. This is where I was and what I was doing when back in November life threw me that curveball and I then I was stepping up when needed once more. This time I served as a Congressional candidate as I have described, and which brings us to date.
Now it is time to look to the future – the future that I hope to see for our beloved city. Thank you for learning more about me and please read about my Vision for Cincinnati and My Promise to You!