Meet Dontavius

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I am running to represent the 25th House District in the Ohio House of Representatives because I believe a better Ohio starts with all of us. The children of this district do not get a fair shot in life, and many parents throughout the district struggle just to get by. I know these challenges because I have lived them myself. All too often, the color of our skin and the zip code where we are born becomes the ceiling of our achievement. People like me – like us – rarely run for public office. I am running to fight for every Ohioan to have the tools they need to not just survive but thrive. I will fight for stories like mine to become the norm, not the exception. 

Born in the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland, it was a community that never fully recovered from the deadly race riots of 1967. Crime, poverty, and disinvestment was our reality. At the age of 7, I had to fight to survive lead poisoning.  Through it all, I was lucky to have a family that pushed me to succeed. My grandmother cleaned the homes of white families during the Depression. She taught me the value of hard work and sacrifice, and to stand in my own truth and know that where I came from shouldn’t determine where he went. My mother, a former member of CWA Local 4320, taught me patience and the importance of helping others. They made sure I was part of just 1 in 3 who graduated from East Technical High School in 2006. I went on to Hiram College, where I learned about advocacy and leadership. 

After graduation, I was selected as an Ohio Legislative Service Commission Fellow, where I worked as a staffer for Democratic House Caucus during the 129th General Assembly. At the Statehouse, I assisted in the fight against the anti-union Senate Bill 5 and partnered with community organizations.

After completing my fellowship, I decided to commit the next seven years of my career fighting for Ohioans to have adequate healthcare, including access to comprehensive mental health resources and treatment for addiction. At the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA) and Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), I worked to engage communities across Ohio to support those in recovery and fought to pass Medicaid expansion. I was proud to serve as OhioMHAS’s Health Equity Policy and Program Lead, making sure that the department did not overlook the needs of underrepresented communities across Ohio.

But I soon realized that only with different leaders in government could we create an Ohio that cares about everyone and transitioned from being a public health expert to a political strategist. In the 2018 election, I served as Political Director to Steve Dettelbach who was running for Ohio Attorney General. Currently, I serve as the Chief of Communications at the Franklin County Treasurer’s Office.

I am passionate about supporting organizations working to achieve better representation. Outside of work, I proudly serve as Chair of the Black Caucus of the Young Democrats of America, Founding Fellow of the New Leaders Council of Columbus, Founder of the Columbus African Council and serves as an Executive Committee member for the Franklin County Democratic Party and Ohio Democratic Party.

 I hope you will support my campaign to make sure stories like mine are not extraordinary – that every child can escape the circumstances of their neighborhood and climb high enough to give back.

 

A better Ohio starts with all of us. 

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