FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 19, 2018
AKRON – Democratic candidate for Governor Dennis Kucinich today named his running mate for Lt. Governor: Akron City Council Member Tara Samples, a highly regarded community leader, volunteer, and political activist who overcame the serious challenges of a struggling teen to achieve award-winning personal and professional success.
“It is the honor of my life to be standing here today with my friend and inspiration, Dennis Kucinich, to accept his offer to be his running mate for Lt. Governor of the State of Ohio,” Samples told a wildly cheering throng of family, friends, and fellow members of the Burning Bush Church in downtown Akron where the announcement was made.
In making the announcement, Kucinich said, “Tara represents a dynamic affirmation of our #PowerToWeThePeople campaign that offers realistic and aspirational goals for a vital, equitable, sustainable, and inclusive Ohio. I believe this is a pivotal moment for the campaign and the beginning of a sweeping movement all across the state to reclaim the power of the people and return it to the people.”
Samples was first elected to represent Ward 5 on the Akron City Council in 2013. She was re-elected to a second term last November with an impressive 62 per cent of the vote. She is Chair of the Public Utilities Committee, Vice Chair of the Housing Committee, and she serves on the Parks & Recreation and Public Service committees.
Her civic memberships and affiliations include the National League of Cities Public Safety & Crime Prevention Steering Committee 2014, 2016 and 2018; and the National Paralegal Association. She is also a member of the Policy Board of the Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization (NEFCO) and is the acting Secretary/Treasurer of the Akron-Bath-Copley Joint Township Hospital District.
The civic and professional success she has achieved represents a remarkable personal triumph over disadvantages and obstacles that might have seemed insurmountable to some:
She was in high school when she had her first daughter at the age of 16 and a second daughter at the age of 17. But she succeeded in graduating and began pursuing a dream of attending college and building a brighter future for herself and her children.
“It was a struggle,” she recounts. “School, kids, a job, and a stack of statistics that said I’d never make it.” Samples attended the University of Akron for a while, majoring in Political Science/Public Policy Management and then transferred to the Academy of Court Reporting, where she received a degree in Paralegal Studies with a minor in Business Administration. While in school, she sent resumes to lawyers and law firms in Akron, Canton, and Cleveland; but only one responded: Akron attorney Ed Parms. That, she says, became the turning point in her life. Parms not only gave her job. He gave her hope that her dreams could come true. He mentored her. He introduced her to prominent and influential members of the community. He encouraged her to get involved as a volunteer on political campaigns and helped open doors to opportunities she had only imagined. That was 18 years ago. Since then, she has worked as a paralegal at two major firms in Akron and as a Bailiff in the Akron Municipal Court.
More recently, she has been recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service for her exceptional leadership and volunteerism and awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. “Drum Major Award” (2014) and the Martin Luther King Jr. “Day of Service” Award (2015). Last year, she also received the Faith Place Making a Difference Award from the Apostolic Faith Church.
She has also been very active politically as a member of the Ohio Democratic Party, a Democratic Party Convention delegate for former President Barack Obama (2012), a member of the Ohio Delegation for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (2016), and a member of “Our Revolution,” a national Progressive Democratic political action organization.