Three women are vying for the Democratic nomination in the race to win a Hamilton County Commission seat. The death of Todd Portune essentially leaves the seat vacant, because his named successor, Victoria Parks, opted not to run.
All three candidates appeared on Cincinnati Edition to talk about their histories and their visions for Hamilton County.
Kelli Prather of Price Hill calls herself an advocate rather than an activist. The difference, she says, is an advocate is willing to sit down and negotiate a "real deal."
"I fight for the things that impact the everyday person's life: health care, transportation, justice of course, because sadly a lot of the systems we have to deal with on a regular basis you see a lot of injustice," she says.
Prather was a victim of gun violence. She was shot by her husband in 2004, and says the incident inspired her to work with domestic violence victims and those who work in the mental health field. "I can use this experience on so many different fronts; advocating for increased mental health services, not only for gun violence victims, but also those individuals who perpetrate these crimes. Because hurt people hurt people."
Alicia Reece served on Cincinnati's council, and was the District 33 representative in the Ohio Statehouse for eight years. She sees the start of the new decade a good time to get back into government with the vision for making Hamilton County the "number one county in America."
Reece says her time in those offices would give her an advantage on the county commission. "I understand the city of Cincinnati is in Hamilton County, it's not a separate entity," she says. "I've been able to get things done. I can work across party lines. I've shown that at the statehouse when I've been in the minority."
She says as commissioner, she would work with the leaders of Hamilton County communities. "That's what people want to hear. They don't want to hear we're just fighting about something. They want people who have relationships and people who can get things done."
Connie Pillich credits her time in the Air Force with teaching her leadership. "I learned to plan strategically and I developed decision-making tools that I still use today," the former public defender and 28th District Representative says.
Pillich says winning her seat as a Democrat in a Republican neighborhood shows she has the focus and discipline for a tough campaign.
"I'm doing my own research now so I can be ready on Day One. I'm going to bring a collaborative approach. I'm trained in collaborative law. I'm trained in how to bring people together to find a solution going forward that satisfies the interests of the people of the county."