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'Ready To Run' Prepares Ohio Women To Seek Elected Office

Ohio I Voted Stickers
John Minchillo
Associated Press

The 2018 election attracted hundreds of women candidates around the country and in Ohio for a variety of offices. An effort called “Ready To Run” hopes to attract even more women candidates for future elections.

“Many of the women that I talk to while they feel they are not qualified, they are very qualified to run for office,” says Shaddia Jallaq.

Jallaq is the manager of P.O.W.E.R., which stands for "Programs for Ohio Women Empowered to Represent." Her group organizes "Ready To Run," which is sponsored by The John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.

“We hold these trainings annually to give you time to learn what you need to know and be prepared to run for office,” Jallaq says.

Jallaq says the only two qualifications to run for office are residency and age. Various workshops at the “Ready to Run” event, now in its fourth year, teach women what they need to know to be successful in running their own campaign. 

The sessions include building your own campaign, policy briefing, and fundraising. Attendees also learn how to use interactive media to communicate their message.

Jallaq says she wants to increase the number of women seeking elected office.

“I definitely would have loved to see more women running for office,and that’s in part why we host these trainings, to encourage women, to educate, empower and inspire them to consider to run for office,” she says.

Jallaq says there are challenges for any candidate.

“Running for office takes time,” Jallaq says. “You have to build your network. You have to connect with different consultants. You have to connect with your own constituents in your community.”

Jallaq says 30 women have run for office after participating in the workshops. Thirteen of them have won their races from township trustee to Ohio Senator.  In the most recent election, three women won: Democrat Beth Liston, who won in the 21st Ohio House district; Democrat Allison Russo, in the 24th Ohio House district; and Democrat Tina Maharath, in the 3rd Ohio Senate district.

Workshops are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 6, from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at Ohio State's Fawcett Center.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.