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What state of being would a person have to be in to run for the legislature in a state that can’t stay out of the news when it comes to the economy, or abortion, or voting rights, or labor issues? And run as a Democrat at a time when that party is outnumbered by a veto-proof majority in the statehouse?

A state of wanting to give voice to a community birthed by redistricting and to apply lessons and successes of being in a municipal government — including shaking it up a good amount — to a process woefully in need of some good ole checks and balances.

And so, in early July 2013, with the blessing of my husband of 22 years and my kids, aged 14, 17 and 20, I started to campaign for the State Representative seat for nine suburbs and a well-settled, well-established, very active portion of Cleveland – Ward 1.

Now, the Internet is replete with articles about women and electoral politics – good, bad and ugly. And they’re very helpful in sketching out the myriad contexts women encounter when it comes to being in elected, political decision-making roles. But there are more than a few things no boot camp can prepare you for. These are my top five discoveries so far:

Read the full post here.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 4:17 pm February 18th, 2014 in BlogHer, Politics, Primary | 1 Comment 

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What’s so funny about this (and today’s strip) is that we have many excellent training programs that have been working with women on how to run for office, period. I’ve personally helped bring one to Ohio (White House Project’s Go Run! in 2008) and I’ve participated in many more. Read and share. And thank Garry Trudeau. And also know, this problem isn’t limited to folks running from the right – we know there are plenty of potential trainees to be found all along the political spectrum.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:50 am December 24th, 2013 in Gender, Humor, Politics | Comments Off 

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I sure hope so since I’m just about out of one arena and heading into another. You’d think it might leave me with lots of time to blog again but, well – we’ll just have to wait and see. Based on how intimidated I hear some electeds, past and present, are of The Blogger Councilwoman, I might just have to find a way to make that my new moniker. A good blog name is a terrible thing to waste.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:54 pm December 23rd, 2013 in Campaigning, leadership, Politics | Comments Off 

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Yesterday was my birthday. It was also the day I officially announced my candidacy for State Representative in House District 12.

WLST is not my campaign site or blog – you can see all that at But feel free to save the date for my kick off event which will be September 30th at 5 p.m. Please subscribe for the campaign’s email news for details on that event and more.

It’s not hard for me to pledge to work tirelessly and continuously for support and trust because it really is what I do and I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me while I do that on behalf of public service. I believe in public service, I believe in government and I do not believe it should take a second seat to the expectations we have for any other sector or system.

Training programs like the excellent Camp Wellstone have me brainwashed that I must follow my campaign manager’s orders so I have to include this message – which really will be one of very few if any additional ones directly related to the campaign that will ever appear on WLST. So – now, from my campaign manager:

Instead of emailing Jill to send birthday greetings or congrats on the campaign, please consider doing one (or all) of these things:

1. Share Jill’s announcement on your Facebook & Twitter.

2. Donate to Jill’s campaign

3. Learn More about Jill:

4. Sign up to receive news from Jill’s campaign at

5. Follow her on Twitter: @jillmillerzimon

Thank you!


By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:55 am August 13th, 2013 in Jill Miller Zimon, Ohio House District 12, Politics | 3 Comments 

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The  Washington Post is up with an interesting article about women now taking the political mantle from dads, rather than sons or rather than just sons. But I personally know people who will tell you that it was their mother’s activism that got them engaged. Here’s one story that highlights how U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) got her game from her grandmother. Only toward the end does the article mention women as “bequeathers” rather than “inheritors.”

Here’s the WaPo piece – what do you think?

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:51 am July 30th, 2013 in activism, Gender, Politics | 1 Comment 

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Boys club signing away reproductive rights and health care needs of Ohio's women

Photo by Karen Kasler of the Statehouse News Bureau for Ohio Public Radio and Television. Hattip to 100% Men tumblr.

For more about the unconscionable agenda forwarded by these elected officials sworn to represent all Ohioans, read here.

UPDATE:’s Carl Weiser names names re: which boys got into the seemingly boys-only event.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:49 am July 1st, 2013 in Abortion, democracy, Gender, Ohio, Politics, Women | Comments Off 

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From Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio:

Inspired by Texan Women, please wear RED for Ohio and join us to show Ohio’s Legislature & Governor Kasich that we Stand With Ohio Women beginning at 10 AM Thursday with a Press Conference on the High Street/West entrance side. We’ll then pack the Gallery for what could a long day! (wear comfy shoes!). Spread the word – this is a non-partisan event for ALL of us who believe that Ohio’s Budget should not be the “Abortion Budget”. Demand a VETO on abortion amendments! *** if you can not make it in person, please call Gov Kasich 614-466-3555. Tell him to veto all of the attacks on access to reproductive healthcare! See y’all in Columbus! #StandwOHWomen

DO NOT DESPAIR OR STOP USING YOUR VOICE – don’t just stand with Wendy, let’s be Wendy & Leticia and all the great advocates in Texas – read and see more here. From the first link:

Like hundreds of thousands of people, I listened to Davis speak — for me, for Texas women, for all women — thanks to a grainy livestream and obsessively refreshing Twitter. Katie Naranjo, a local women’s rights advocate who spent more than 13 hours in the Senate chambers on Tuesday, told me on the phone that night, “As she was reading the testimony of all the women who weren’t allowed to testify before the committee, we all knew she was our voice. We were her and she was us.”

She was us. And so when Davis was yanked from the floor on a parliamentary technicality — Republicans said she violated the rules of order by making points about women’s health that they deemed were “not germane” to the women’s health legislation under consideration — other women rose to speak. Or tried to. Senator Leticia Van de Putte, who had rushed to the capitol directly from her father’s funeral earlier that day, was granted the floor and asked, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?”

It was at this point the women in the chamber, who had been shushed for hours, erupted in a chant of “Let her speak! Let her speak!” The chorus had a distinctly female, strangely jubilant timbre. It had been Davis’s intention to speak until midnight, not yielding the floor until the legislative session expired so that the abortion-restricting bill would not be able to come to a vote. But when she was pulled from the floor just minutes before midnight, the women who had assembled picked up where she left off, drowning out the legislators’ attempts to call a vote.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:03 am June 27th, 2013 in Gender, Ohio, Politics | Comments Off 

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From my latest:

When we’re talking public bodies, who gets to say, “enough’s enough” and then ban public dialogue at a public meeting?

This being the United States, intuition might tell you that no one does. If it’s a public body and a public meeting, then the public gets to talk. But, for starters, you’d be wrong here in Ohio where the law provides for a right to attend public meetings, but it does not provide for the public to have a right to participate or comment.

Punctuating the (perceived mis)use of a similar power, but in this case in New York, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy have sued the town of Sanford’s board for its September 2012 resolution that bans public comment on fracking:

The resolution said: “It is the determination of this Board that hereafter no further comment will be received during the public participation portion of this or any future meeting regarding natural gas development,” until the state’s environmental review was done.

Not so unreasonable?

Read the rest and start a conversation about it. Should electeds get to ban the public from what they can discuss?


By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:57 pm February 17th, 2013 in Debates, democracy, Ohio, Politics | Comments Off 

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Very very unfortunate for everyone that Debe Terhar did not take the advice of the Anti-Defamation League when it explicitly wrote:

As a public figure she should know better.  We hope that Ms. Terhar will retract the comparison and apologize.  She should make clear that Holocaust comparisons are inappropriate and a terrible distortion of the history of World War II.

Thanks to reporter Matt Bruning’s tweet from this morning’s Ohio Board of Education meeting, you can read precisely what Ms. Terhar had to say – and you will not see the words “Hitler” “Holocaust” “history” or “World War II” in it:

This is incredibly unfortunate – that in a state of 11 million people, and at least 3 million children in public school, the person who is the president of our public government body charged specifically with improving public education in Ohio (I read the ORC on their duties last night), Debe Terhar continues to refuse to see or perhaps just lacks the competency to see how the content of her Facebook posting is the problem, not her “mistake” for sharing it somewhere where the public might see it. Her characterizing the Facebook posting as “hasty” contradicts her prior statements that said she was only trying to get people to be thinking.

This is incredibly bad precedent to set. How on earth will Debe Terhar have the ability now to lead the board to a “healthy consensus” for kids’ best interests, let alone judge with any credibility what far lower level education system people do given that she’s suffered zero consequences?

Although I absolutely do not question the integrity of a number of individual members of the State Board of Education and in fact am grateful for their speaking out and stepping up, I have no faith in the entity’s credibility so long as Debe Terhar is its leader.  This is not what Ohio needs or deserves if it wants to play the game of attracting people here. Education is almost always the first thing many people look at when considering where to live.  Her inability to recognize the wrongness of referencing Hitler as she did, whether the public sees it or not but simply as a matter of what educated people should not do, chills me to the bone and I know it affects many, many people the exact same way.

Scary, scary stuff at the top of education system.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:26 pm February 11th, 2013 in Education, Ohio, Politics | 4 Comments 

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At my day job:

As if we needed any more evidence as to why the Civic Commons wants its users to agree to be “civil” before engaging online, a Columbus Dispatch editorial declared last week, in regard to a social media incident involving the state Board of Education president, “This H-bomb is a dud: Invoking Hitler is unlikely to be a winning political strategy” and a highly regarded expert on online politicking likewise wrote of the same incident, “…dropping the H-bomb pretty much destroys the intellectual credibility of the dropper…”. That H-bomb, and many other words and utterances of name-calling, are the nuclear bomb equivalents of destroying any chance for meaningful, useful dialogue.  And that is the opposite of what the Civic Commons seeks to promote.

Of course, linguistic laziness in unpacking and examining controversial topics isn’t committed solely by people in the poltiical arena. Last year, a food industry CEO apologized for comparing President Obama’s health care reform efforts to fascism because, as he admitted, the word “fascism” has “…so much baggage attached to it.” He went on to say that he thinks we need a new word to describe what he sees as the country, “…no longer hav[ing] free-enterprise capitalism in health care…[because t]he government is directing it.

Read the full post here.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 7:06 pm January 31st, 2013 in Courage, Culture, Debates, democracy, Politics | Comments Off 

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I’ve been thinking on this situation for three days now and I’ve had many, many thoughts. (Basic recap: Ohio’s State Board of Ed prez, Debe Terhar, shared on her Facebook page a photo of Hitler that is accompanied by this quote, “Never forget what this tyrant said: ‘To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.’ — Adolf Hitler.” This quote has been debunked. Since its posting a few days ago, she’s taken down her Facebook page but is refusing to step down from the board or from the position of president of the board.)

Here are a few thoughts:

1. I work on a daily basis to get public officials to engage with, you know, the public. I don’t want less engagement between those two sets of stakeholders. I’m also an elected official, so I live this as well.

2. Engagement, like democracy, can be dangerous for public officials who do not comprehend that online engagement in particular wants to be public and, like heat seeking the highest points, engagement seeks out public forums.

4. I’m in my ninth year of engaging online and I trust its self-correcting nature, for me and for others. It’s why I don’t demonize it. But it requires humility and acceptance as well as confidence to stand up for what you’ve placed online, however you placed it there (including your original words or *just* sharing a photo or quote from another source, which then is open to being scrutinized, for that’s part of what social networking is all about – scrutinizing the networks of people or organizations we view online in order to understand the otherwise one-dimensional representations of themselves that they’ve placed online with their name attached to or affiliated with it) or apologize for it and explain yourself. If you are not prepared to do any of that, then get training before you engage online. If you are not capable of or don’t agree in doing any of that, please do not enter public office. Public office in the 21st century demands people who accept the public part and the public part, in the 21st century, includes the online public.

Now, here’s a little free advice Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:29 pm January 24th, 2013 in Politics | Comments Off 

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From my day job:

Many political candidates don’t just have a fear of commitment. They have a fear of engagement. But with 2013 being a local government election year, voters should pull no punches in putting the question about committing to public engagement to the people who want their votes. Contrary to the immortal words of the ultimate Meatloaf song, we can’t just sleep on it. We want to know: what’s it gonna be, yes or no?

So often, we clamor to know how a candidate will vote on an issue he or she hasn’t yet faced. We provide hypothetical circumstances that we want them to imagine are real. Sure, plenty of politicians pick and choose issues about which they will shake their fist and blurt out a reliable yes or no (consider how few elected folks waffled on the Affordable Care Act; most knew what they wanted, the issue was whether they’d vote for what came before them). But mostly, we’ve come to accept as routine a refusal to comply with such a demand. It’s truly rare to see courage rear it’s head and and expose itself through the voice of a political wannabe as he or she, instead, silently calculates the local vote count that can be earned by resisting commitment.

Now, with the fear of engagement, there is hope. At least, I have hope.

Read about why I have hope here and add you thoughts in the accompanying conversation.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:20 am January 11th, 2013 in democracy, Elections, Engagement, Politics | Comments Off 

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This topic is all the rage this week. Use the comments for discussion. Again, I go back to the esteemed Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor (comes at the 30 second mark) and their comments to Diane Sawyer in 2010. Btw, the whole clip is worthwhile to recall just how hard reaching parity has been and how nonpartisan this issue is:

Nine. I love that answer.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:39 am January 10th, 2013 in Gender, Politics, Women | 4 Comments 

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The video’s up for the most recent Feagler & Friends appearance:

I swish my hair too much, but I also never get seated in the last spot – see, Michael Heaton’s hair doesn’t have to swish at all – well, you know, Michael – the hair that’s there? :)

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:04 pm January 7th, 2013 in Cleveland+, Jill Miller Zimon, Media, Politics | 1 Comment 

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I’ve been writing for a lot of other places – I know. From my post-election night BlogHer column:

What might the United States political world look like in 2016? The predictions began to roll in even before 2012 votes were counted, with Vice President Joe Biden being one of the first to tease about being a candidate — for something — in that year.

My first thought is, just how long is four years anyway? In four years, my second of three children will be starting college and my youngest will be a high school freshman. My own re-election for City Council, should I choose to run again, is next year — and for me, that’s a nine-month birthing event as it is since, with kids, a full-time job, being on Council now and still doing writing and speaking. In case President Obama’s win didn’t demonstrate this axiom enough, planning a campaign out in excrutiating detail is mandatory if you also want to plan on winning.

Only 1458 days left until Election Day 2016! Go read the full post here and get ready!

By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:00 pm November 13th, 2012 in Election 2016, Elections, Politics, Voting | Comments Off 

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Back in 2008, I spent a night in the NPR DC blogger warroom with a bunch of other social media political junkies – here’s one post from that evening. And this year, I’m very excited to again be part of the social media activity at NPR’s DC headquarters. They’ve posted a very nice intro to the occasion here, including the twitter handles and names of all my compatriots who’ll be there.

How can you follow along? Several ways:

1. On Twitter, search on the #nprmeetup hashtag

2. Follow me on Twitter – @jillmz

3. Check out the Twitter list,

Now, if you really want to dig in, the Civic Commons backchannel live-chat with my colleagues Dan Moulthrop, Jason Russell and probably a few others will be the place to be. You can follow that action here. If you haven’t had civic engagement courtesy of a Civic Commons backchannel conversation, you will not want to miss it there tomorrow night.

At NPR, we’re going to have a chance to meet Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie, if anyone has any questions, and Andy Carvin, NPR’s senior social media strategist, really is a rock star in his own right for many reasons but perhaps he’s best known for his coverage of the political and civil movements in North Africa and across the Middle East.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:17 pm November 5th, 2012 in Elections, Ohio, Politics, WH2012, White House 2012, Writing | Comments Off 

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From the very engaged, ever-active, nonpartisan The 2012 Project:

Women currently hold 73 House seats and 17 Senate seats and make up 17 percent of the US Congress. In this election, there are a record 163 women nominees for House and 18 for Senate. The 2012 Project’s campaign to hit “20 Percent in 2012″ requires women to hit 87 House seats and 20 Senate seats after Election Day.

To make the most educated guess, consult the 2012 Election Tracker. Predict how many women you think will win on Nov. 6th and be eligible to win fabulous prizes!!!

First prize: $250 Gift Card

Second prize: a Nespresso coffee machine from Nestlé

Third prize: Swag Bag from Lifetime Television

Contest deadline is Friday, November 2nd at 5:00 p.m. EST.

If you are into fantasy football, this might be for you. It is not as easy as it looks. You might also check out Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight for an assist. Not sure if I’ll give it a try – need sometime to brew over it. What does your gut say – can we break the record?

By Jill Miller Zimon at 6:55 am October 26th, 2012 in Congress, Gender, Politics, Women | Comments Off 

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Trolling Election Predictions

Filed Under Media, Politics | Comments Off

Where do you get your fix? I visit Real Clear Politics, Political Wire, Five Thirty Eight and the Huffington Post. I also check a list on twitter that aggregates multiple Ohio news sources and I read Chris Cillizza’s emailed newsletters that come from the Washington Post’s The Fix portal. I receive, in print, the Plain Dealer, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and get alerts from the first two regularly (I’m not a fan of the WSJ but I like to see what they cover and how they cover it).  For my women’s political perspective needs, I access MsRepresentation, Women’s eNews, the Broad Side, Women’s Media Center and a few others.

Who and what are you trusting, liking, panning this election cycle?

By Jill Miller Zimon at 7:57 am September 13th, 2012 in Media, Politics | Comments Off 

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I’m not part of it but you can read all about them here. It’s an impressive array indeed. I’ve added attending one of these shindigs to my bucket list, which started to form this past summer.

To follow the action on Twitter, check out #ODPatDNC #DNC2012, follow ODP folks @jeridkurtz @laurenharmon or follow the media there like @henryjgomez. I have a batch of friends who’ll be there from the women, politics and tech fields and they should be worth following too – @punditmom and @jljacobson and @rachelsklar to name a few.

The schedule is here for today/tonight and expect Wednesday and Thursdays by 10pm the night before (or so they’ve said).

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:58 am September 4th, 2012 in Barack Obama, Democrats, Politics, WH2012, White House 2012 | Comments Off 

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I’m very sorry that I won’t be able to listen to Thursday morning’s WCPN Sound of Ideas live but I’m sure it will be excellent listening:

There’s been a lot of talk this Presidential campaign season about women’s issues. And much of the talking is being done by supporters of President Obama, who say the GOP — with its platform opposing abortion — is against women. Republican women, of course, take issue with that. A sluggish economy , which they pin on the president, is a bigger concern, they say. Defining and debating women’s issues and women’s votes, Thursday at 9:00 on The Sound of Ideas. Join Mike McIntyre for the discussion.

Connie Schultz, journalist
Charlotte Hays, director of cultural programs, Independent Women’s Forum
Justin S.Vaughn, assistant professor of political science, Boise State University

Mike McIntyre – have fun!! (No – really!)

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:52 pm August 22nd, 2012 in Gender, Politics, Women | Comments Off 

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