City councilmembers and judge share their campaign experiences and goals for office
By Kayla Ross, Back Page Editor
The Ohio Secretary of State’s office reported that around 3.9 million state residents voted in last week’s election, nearly setting a record high for an odd-year election. In this high turnout year, Cincinnati voters elected several women to local offices.
Public defender and clinical professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law Samantha Silverstein was elected as Hamilton County’s District 4 municipal judge last Tuesday. District 4 includes Norwood, Fairfax, Newtown and Anderson Township.
Before running for municipal judge of District 4, Silverstein worked at Legal Aid of Southwest Ohio. She currently serves as a director of the Law Office of the Hamilton County Public Defender. Her experiences in these roles inspired her to run for public office, especially in advocating for others.
“My experiences have been in advocating for people facing domestic violence, eviction and other crimes. I have an intimate knowledge of how these decisions affect people’s ability to prosper and succeed, and this can affect the prosperity of the whole community,” Silverstein said.
Silverstein was the only candidate in Hamilton County to run against an incumbent for municipal court judge. Silverstein shared the challenges she faced throughout the campaign experience.
“I had to think about if I looked judicial or what I was wearing in a way male colleagues don’t,” Silverstein stated.
Anna Albi, the current local group lead for Moms Demand Action in Cincinnati, was elected as one of nine City Council Members. Albi was the only candidate who was not an incumbent. Her past experiences in gun violence advocacy influenced her platform.
“We’ve just experienced a mass shooting involving kids. I’ve already started discussions with the Mayor and the Vice Mayor around additional gun safety legislation. We passed two gun safety ordinances earlier this year,” Albi stated.
“In addition to legislation, I think we should talk about the response and support for survivors after a shooting takes place. We have to look at what resources we are providing for survivors of all ages and make sure people have access to mental health resources and grief counseling,” she said.
Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney was one of eight incumbents to be elected to keep their City Council seat, earning 11.06% of the tital vote during the election. Kearney looks to continue and expand upon her priorities in her second full term on City Council, especially in regard to improving community safety throughout Cincinnati.
“I want us to focus on significantly decreasing gun violence — which includes passing gun sense legislation — initiating trauma-informed policy to deal with the violence that plagues our communities, creating more opportunities for our youth, pushing for equitable opportunities for our women-owned and minority-owned businesses so that they can grow and prosper and increasing affordable homeownership and housing,” the Vice Mayor said.
Kearney shared some of her takeaways from the campaign experience as a woman.
“Stacy Abrams challenged women to have the ‘audacity to say yes’ when the opportunity to serve in elected office arises. I was one of those women. I was reluctant to serve on the City Council when asked to fill a vacant seat in 2020. I had no experience in politics, but I decided to have the audacity to say yes,” Kearney said.
“When I joined Cincinnati City Council, there was only one other woman. She was a Republican, and I’m a Democrat, and she had just taken her seat one week before I did. We bonded. Although we were on opposite sides of the aisle, we found common ground. Women are like that — we are collaborative,” she continued.