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New Hamilton County Commission Will Be One Of Firsts

Courtesy Stephanie Dumas
Stephanie Summerow Dumas beat incumbent Chris Monzel for a seat on the county commission.

Democratic challenger Stephanie Summerow Dumas won the race for Hamilton County commission by about 9,000 votes in Tuesday's election. Her victory means Democrats hold all three seats of the commission for the first time. It's also the first time there have been two women on the board. And Dumas says she is the first African-American woman to be elected commissioner in Ohio.

"We know women and men think differently. Black women think differently than white women," Dumas told WVXU Tuesday night. "Diversity is excellent. The Democratic aspect of it; I'm a different Democrat, and I guess that's why I was not endorsed."

The former Forest Park mayor beat Mt. Healthy Mayor James Wolf in the May primary election to get on the ballot. On Tuesday night, she beat Republican Chris Monzel, who has served on the commission since 2010.

Dumas says she will not be a rubber stamp for the Democratic majority. "I'm not going to step back or back down when I think there's an issue that the residents of the county could benefit from. I need to speak up. At the same time, I'll be collaborative and be a team player, but I'm not going to be a 'yes' person either."

Commission President Todd Portune says while Democrats have a majority, he wants to make sure they govern in "an inclusive and responsible manner."

He says this election shows the voices of women and minorities are being heard through the polls, both nationally and locally. "We have an incredibly diverse, inclusive commission representing the real face of the people of Hamilton County."

Dumas says Hamilton County's budget can't be fixed in a year or two. Commissioners are currently grappling with a $29 million deficit. She says she wants to look at doing things differently.

She says transportation is also an important issue for her, stating that only half of Forest Park is served by bus lines.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.