This story was originally published by the Buckeye Flame and republished here with permission.
More than 20 out LGBTQ+ Ohioans ran for public office in the 2023 general election, campaigning to represent voters in major cities and small villages and townships across the state.
With a unprecedented rise in anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-transgender legislation across the country, out LGBTQ+ candidates faced a range of political climates in their own communities. While some candidates faced intense anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, other experienced overwhelming community support.
In total, Ohio voters elected more than 15 out LGBTQ+ candidates to public office.
- Brittney Klockowski for Weston City Council: Brittney Klockowski won a seat to represent residents in the small, conservative Wood County community of Weston as member of Weston City Council.
- Cindy Strebig for Lakewood City Council: Prominent out LGBTQ+ activist Cindy Strebig ran unopposed, winning a seat to represent residents on Lakewood City Council in Cuyahoga County.
- Connor Moreton for Saint Bernard Council: Out LGBTQ+ candidate Connor Moreton won the race to represent residents in Saint Bernard, a small village in Hamilton County. Moreton was elected to one of seven open seats on Saint Bernard City Council.
- Damon Sherry for Bowling Green City Council: Newcomer and out queer and non-binary person Damon Sherry beat their Republican opponent by more than 120 votes, winning a seat to represent Ward 1 residents on Bowling Green City Council.
- Deb Steele for Clinton Township Fiscal Officer: Incumbent Deb Steele, who has been Clinton Township’s Fiscal Officer since 2013, ran unopposed and will retain her seat.
- Kari Suhadolnik for Stow-Munroe Falls School Board: After being appointed to the seat in last year, Kari Suhadolnik won the race to retain her position as a member of the the Stow-Munroe Falls School Board in Summit County.
- Melissa Anderson for Grove City Council: Melissa Anderson won the race to represent Ward 4 residents in the Columbus suburb of Grove City as a member of Grove City Council.
- Merisa Bowers for Gahanna City Council: Merisa Bowers was elected to one of three open seats on Gahanna City Council, receiving more votes than any other candidate.
- Jim Petras for Cleveland Heights City Council: Jim Petras won his first race to represent Cleveland Heights residents as a member of Cleveland Heights City Council.
- Bobby McDowall for Mogadore Village City Council: Voters elected Bobby McDowall to a fourth term on the Mogadore Village City Council.
- Reggie Harris for Cincinnati City Council: Former board chair for Equality Ohio and out LGBTQ+ incumbent Reggie Harris retained his seat as member of Cincinnati City Council.
- Lori Trent for Upper Arlington Schools Board: Lori Trent was elected to one of three open seats on the Upper Arlington School Board, which serves about 6,000 students in the Columbus metropolitan area.
- Sam Bowling for Norwood City Council: Sam Bowling won a seat on Norwood City Council, defeating her opponent by more than 200 votes in the Cincinnati suburb.
- Sandra Kurt for Akron Clerk of Courts: Sandra Kurt, longtime Summit County Clerk of Courts won the race against Republican candidate Debbie Walsh to become the new Akron Clerk of Courts.
- Shannon Hardin for Columbus City Council: Out LGBTQ+ Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin ran unopposed, retaining his seat.
- Taylor Sappington for Nelsonville City Auditor: Out LGBTQ+ candidate and incumbent Taylor Sappington was elected to represent Nelsonville residents as City Auditor.
- Melody N. Mayle for Golf Manor City Council: Melody N. Mayle becomes now one of two out LGBTQ+ individuals on council.
- Charlotte Bruewer for Golf Manor City Council: Charlotte Bruewer becomes now one of two out LGBTQ+ individuals on council.
- Brandon Simmons for Columbus City Schools Board: Newcomer Brandon Simmons won a seat on the Columbus City Schools Board of Education.
As we celebrate the winners, we also tip our hats to the numbers LGBTQ+ candidates who ran this year, including Kyle Bruce, Dia Hildenbrand, Lauren Bacans-Grounds, Chandler White, Richard Trojanski and Eric Resnick.
Their passion for making a difference in their communities — and their willingness to put themselves out there by running for office exemplify leadership and will undoubtedly help blaze the trail for other LGBTQ+ candidates to follow.
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