Young Democrats running for office in 2018
Young people are vastly underrepresented in public office across Ohio and the U.S. — and these candidates are trying to change that.
Candidate for Franklin County Auditor
Town: Columbus, Ohio
Briefly describe your background: I was born and raised in Columbus and have been honored to serve our community for as long as I can remember. As a child, I grew up with parents dedicated to public service. After graduating from law school at The Ohio State University, my first public service
experience was as Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections. Next, I proudly served the central Ohio community in the Ohio General Assembly from 2011 to 2016. I now serve as President pro tempore for Columbus City Council, where I work hard to make Columbus a great place to live and work.
What inspired you to run for office? I have always been driven by my passion to serve others. Public service has allowed me to give back to my communities by instituting change at a larger level. The Franklin County Auditor’s office, which hasn’t had a Democratic Party leader in 80
years, needs to evolve to better serve our county residents and taxpayers with superior service. I want to lead an office that will protect taxpayer dollars and bring infrastructure into the 21st century to effectively serve our communities.
If elected, what are your top three priorities? My top three priorities are accountability, technology and transparency. I will ensure our taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently, and I will incorporate new, innovative technology
that will lower taxes and streamline office operations. I want to eliminate the mystery of the auditor’s office. Many people ask me, “What does the Franklin County Auditor even do?” That’s something I want to change. I will create a transparent and accessible office where constituents know they can come with any issues or questions and can expect to be heard and answered.
What’s your campaign’s theme song? “Road Outside Columbus” by O.A.R.
Why do you think it is important that we have young leaders in elected office? Having younger leaders in elected office has never been more important. A new generation of leaders can address matters we have grown up with and policy issues we care about that have been neglected by previous administrations. Now, we are fired up and ready to go. Young leaders often have a unique connection to our constituents and are willing to consider new ways to improve our communities. We are not bogged down by the “That’s-Just-How-It-Is” mentality and we challenge the standards of tradition. It’s
about time we elect people who are willing to take advantage of creative and innovative ways of getting things done.
Candidate for Montgomery County Recorder
Town: Dayton, Ohio
Briefly describe your background: I was appointed Montgomery County Recorder after the passing of the late great public servant Willis E. Blackshear, Sr. Before that, I served as a Magistrate and Acting Judge in the Dayton Municipal Court, where I handled cases in criminal law, general civil litigation and family law. I’m an attorney by trade, and I’m a veteran — I served in the National Guard and was honorably discharged after achieving the rank of Sergeant in 2009.
What inspired you to run for office? I consider myself to be a career public servant. I’ve served my country as a veteran, served the city of Dayton as a court official and now I’m serving as a county official. I believe that public service is a calling, and this is a calling I have continuously and unwaveringly answered in every aspect of my life. It’s such a noble calling because I get to look out for individuals who have no one to look out for them, and I get to be a voice for the voiceless.
If elected, what are your top three priorities? First, I will continue to protect our most vulnerable. That started within my first 60 days in office when I created the Fraud Alert Notification System, which protects our seniors from getting taken advantage of by bad actors looking to steal their personal information. Next month, I’ll be releasing our Veteran ID Card Program. I want to continue to protect our most vulnerable — our seniors, those who don’t have a voice or an advocate they can easily identify. They are still members of our community, and I want to intend they are treated as such. I want to enable and empower the members of my community to make better investments.
What’s your campaign’s theme song? “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey
Why do you think it is important that we have young leaders in elected office? It’s important to have youth at the table as decision-makers because the decisions made affect all of us. As young leaders, we are leading the charge forward for rights, liberties and equality. We’re not responsible just for our lives — we’re also responsible for the people of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Bride Rose Sweeney
Candidate for Ohio House of Representatives District 14
Town: Cleveland, OH
Briefly describe your background. I was born and raised on the same street on the West side of Cleveland where my grandparents raised their family. I am a lifelong Cleveland native and graduate of St. Joseph Academy and John Carroll University, where I studied political science, business and leadership. Coming from a family of public servants, I knew that in some way or another I wanted to also give back to my community. Therefore, following graduation from college, I applied and was selected to be a fellow for the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, the nonpartisan agency that drafts, researches and writes states laws. After that, I worked for the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus for a variety of different senators, including directly working for two minority leaders. This experience allowed me to gain the confidence and experience I needed to run for office.
What inspired you to run for office? My mother passed away a little less than 3 years ago. I made her a promise the last time I spoke to her that I would always pursue my dreams and never let anyone make me feel less than myself. This was something she always tried to instill in me and my three other sisters. When the opportunity arose for this seat, I faced the typical backlash that most young women candidates encounter — it wasn’t my term, I wasn’t experienced enough, there was someone else pushing me to do this, etc. But I realized that I was the most qualified candidate considering the race, and I decided to keep my promise to my mother and run for office.
If elected, what are your top three priorities?
1. Restoration of the local government fund
2. Student loan relief/fair school funding formula
3. Protect Medicaid Expansion
What’s your campaign’s theme song? “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys
Why do you think it is important that we have young leaders in elected office? The more the legislature reflects the reality of our constituencies, the better off we all are. People from my generation have had a vastly different experience with the economy, education systems and the the job market. It is essential that the legislature has voices who understand the unique challenges of our times.
Candidate for Ashtabula County Commissioner
Town: Ashtabula, Ohio
Briefly describe your background: I grew up in Ashtabula County and always planned to return home after college to help create a better future for my family and community. I obtained a B.A. in Political Science and a J.D. from Ohio Northern University. I am currently a partner at the law firm Lemire and Hamper LLC in Jefferson, Ohio, and I also serve as the solicitor for the Village of Jefferson. I serve on the Boards of LEADERship Ashtabula County and the Jefferson Area Chamber of Commerce. I’m also Legal Counsel for the Ashtabula County Young Democrats. I get excited about strategic
planning, economic development and building strong communities. I also love spending time with my wife, Carmen, and our dogs, Caspian and Maisy.
What inspired you to run for office? My life’s goal is to help as many people as I can achieve their dreams. My high school history teacher Dr. John Patterson (now my state representative) taught me that government can do
enormous good when it’s run by people who care for others. Inspired, I decided to attend college and law school so I could return home to help my community in that way.
The reason I’m running this year is because I believe Ashtabula County is at a crossroads and we must choose whether we stick to the status quo or work together to build a better future for all of us. We deserve a future that is brighter than our past, and I believe in our potential to build it.
If elected, what are your top three priorities? The focuses of my campaign are community, hope and leadership. If Ashtabula County is going to thrive, we need to be a community that is made up of people who are invested in seeing each other succeed. Hope is believing in our potential, while rolling up our sleeves and getting to work together. Ashtabula County needs a strong leader to harness that sense of community and hope to create a better future for all of us. I’ve collaborated with community leaders and experts within Ashtabula County and throughout the country to develop a vision plan, which addresses 12 areas of potential, down to the bullet point. You can check it out at electhamper.com/vision.
What’s your campaign’s theme song? “If You’re Out There” by John Legend
Why do you think it is important that we have young leaders in elected office? I think that younger candidates are more prepared to challenge the status quo, which is an important stimulant for growth. I have passion, energy and an understanding of technology because of my age. Ultimately, it’s not age that matters, but having a vision for the future and empowering members of the community to develop and achieve that vision together.
Candidate for Ohio House of Representatives District 94
Town: Nelsonville, Ohio
Briefly describe your background: I am a three-year city council person in my small town of Nelsonville, Ohio. I grew up here and studied nearby at Ohio University. I run my own small business fixing iPhones and also serve tables on the weekends.
What inspired you to run for office? I was raised in a regular family that just had a lot of fight in it when the times got rough. Not too different from most of the folks I know in southeast Ohio. People don’t want a handout. They just want a fair shot at a dignified life. They want to just feel like their politicians hear them and aren’t wholesale bought and sold to the highest bidder. I am in this campaign to fight to the very last for these folks because I know their struggle personally. And I won’t rest until they’ve been heard.
If elected, what are your top three priorities?
- Healthcare expansion: I believe in single payer healthcare
- Infrastructure: Ohio’s roads and bridges are Third World, or worse. Years of cuts from the state have starved any ability to fix them up. I want to help reverse that. I’d rather our citizens complain about construction barrels instead of broken rims and blown tires.
- Integrity: I will fight the corruption, the harassment, the scandals in Columbus. Even worse than those, the pay-to-play politics has to be taken on. Few folks realize that Ohio has the least restrictive campaign finance limits in the country (of the places where there are any at all). Nobody buys anything for 13 grand and expects nothing in return — that includes their politicians. I want to help build the coalition that will change those rules.
What’s your campaign’s theme song? “Rise Up” by Andra Day
Why do you think it is important that we have young leaders in elected office? The more that our Statehouse looks like the population, the better chance we have at change. It’s a democracy after all — why shouldn’t the Statehouse look more like the people it is supposed to represent?
Want to follow along with the songs Ohio Democrats are listening to?
Check out the Ohio Democratic Playlist on Spotify — we’ll be updating this playlist with more songs from our candidates.