Senator Drake advocates women in politics

“First lady of Ohio Frances Strickland was at the University of Akron on Wednesday afternoon for the Women in Politics luncheon, but she was not the keynote speaker. Former Senator Grace Drake was the speaker; she received the Bliss Institute Public Leadership Award.”

First lady of Ohio Frances Strickland was at the University of Akron on Wednesday afternoon for the Women in Politics luncheon, but she was not the keynote speaker.

Former Senator Grace Drake was the speaker; she received the Bliss Institute Public Leadership Award.

Drake said she viewed UA as her second home, second only to Cleveland State University; she serves as the director of the Ohio Center for the Advancement of Women in Public Service at CSU.

Drake began her service in 1984 as a senator representing the eastern/southern portion of Cuyahoga County and all of Medina and Wayne counties.

Drake spoke of her life in politics, even sharing her sentiments about her time in the Senate. She said she believed the men of the Senate did not know how to treat her.

This was not to be missed, she said. She spoke of how the men of the Senate never told her no, but not because she was a women, but because she approached her legislation from both sides.

I paced myself, and I was able to accomplish a lot, she said.

She stressed that both sexes were represented in government.

(We) need input from both men and women, she said. She gave examples of how she would take legislation to a fellow male senator and have him look it over. Often the questions that would arise dealt with the financial backing of the legislation.

Drake took questions after thanking a long list of people who have helped her throughout the years.

She was asked what was the best advice she was given, and she responded with a quote from her father. Be careful who you step on the way up because they will step on you on the way down, she recalled.

Her main point was that women should get involved in their government.

Everybody has to be a part of their government, she said. Anybody who doesn’t’ feel like they can do something at a state level can start at a local level. They should run for council and build themselves up for running for office.

But before even doing that, someone may want to consider volunteering for a campaign.

You can learn a lot in school, but you need to be out there working in the trenches to know what goes on in a campaign, she said.