Melinda Miller is the Democratic Nominee for District 31 of the Ohio State Senate. She is running against Jay Hottinger, a Republican incumbent who has been an alternating member of both houses of the Ohio State Legislature since 1995. A native of Columbus and a graduate of American University, she has lived in several places around the country and moved back to Ohio recently.

Miller stopped by Denison on September 17 to speak at the first meeting of the Denison Democrats this year to discuss her race.

She is a first-time candidate who was inspired to run in this race, which was set to be unopposed before she got in, after being politically galvanized by the results of the 2016 election.

Miller recently launched into the local political world by getting involved with Strong Voices Rising, a local group that came together after the election. Through this group, people can learn more about local impending elections. Being a first-time candidate, a progressive and a local mom, Miller is excited to see the outcome of the race.

“My number one priority is raising the minimum wage in Ohio because we are really suffering from a situation where there are jobs, but not very good-paying jobs, so people are still really having a hard time making ends meet on the salaries they have,” says Miller.

Only two of the top 10 jobs in Ohio provide a wage that’s enough for someone to rent a two-bedroom apartment with single-parents, and working people filling these jobs.

“I think we’ve seen a huge political awakening since the 2016 election. In that election, things happened that really cut to the core of our values, and so it’s beyond politics now. People are really having to step outside themselves and get involved because it feels like there is more at stake now,” says Miller.

Miller believes its critical to elect Rich Cordray for Governor, Kathleen Clyde for Secretary Of State and Zack Space for Auditor because those are the three positions that draw the district boundaries.

The campaign voices that the Republican policies in place by her opponent harm people and make it more difficult for people to live a good life

Miller says, “The Democratic ideas that we stand for are ones that are going to empower people to make a good life for themselves, and so we’re just making sure we get that message out.” She went on to say that “the engagement at all levels are collectively creating a wave, and together, some of these seats will be flipped and that will make a difference; the collective is larger than the individual races.”