Get to Know Tamaya Dennard
Get to Know 2017 Endorsed Candidate ... Tamaya Dennard
Why are you running?
I’m running for a few reasons. I’m running for Cincinnati City Council because we need more women in elected office, specifically more black women. Black women are the most faithful, loyal voting demographic in this country, but the things we care about and the things that affect us the most are often at the bottom of the list of priorities, if addressed at all.
I’m running because people who are most impacted by an issue are the ones that have to help you design our way out of that challenge but they are often marginalized and invited to the decision table. Often times, marginalized communities aren’t brought to the table to make decisions. They are invited in the spirit of tokenism, after decisions have already been made or often not at all. This needs to change. I’m running to change that.
The process of running for office is one of much privilege. So often times, the people who are running are trying to work to solve problems they’ve never actually experienced themselves. That is why we are constantly seeing band-aid fixes and not approaches that address root causes and systemic challenges. This is also why we often have systems based on middle class norms and not the reality that so many face. This needs to change. That’s why I’m running.
What are the most important issues on your campaign?
The most important issues on our campaign are equity in policy, poverty and government accessibility. We have to create policy with all communities in mind, which includes understanding the needs of each community and caring enough to understand what the implications of policy are for every piece of legislation.
Give us a fun fact about yourself.
Cereal is my favorite food, especially Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Captain Crunch Crunch Berries. I save the Crunch Berries for last.
Who is your favorite president? Why?
President Barack Obama. While I loved politics my whole life, his campaign changed my life. It was the first time that I’d ever volunteered or donated to a political campaign. My shero is Shirley Chisholm who told us that, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” That’s what our campaign is all about.
What’s your favorite food on the campaign trail? Why?
Barbecue Grippos. Nothing more Cincinnati than that!
If you could be a superhero, who would you be? Why?
My superhero of choice is Monica Rambeau. Monica can convert her body to energy and she chooses to be a force for good and not evil. It’s very much in step with the message I give to young people about decision-making and utilizing their leadership to make the world a better place for everyone.
If you were a professional athlete what song would you choose to be your “walk out” song?
Deciding on my walkout song is stuff because I LOVE music. But I would have to go with “Started From The Bottom” by Drake. My journey has been one of many ups and down, like most people. But when I look back at some of the challenges I had to overcome, I can’t help but feel good and feel purposeful.
What was your first paid job?
My first paid job was working at Bacalls’ Café in my home community of College Hill bussing table and being a hostess. That job taught me a lot and it gave me an amazing mentor. I learned about people and politics working at this neighborhood bar & grill. Some of the best food in Cincinnati.
How can young dems help in your race?
Having the support of Young Dems would be amazing. It would be helpful to have social media support and expansion of my network. We have to change the rules on engagement for politics and I would love to have advice on how to do that.
We could also use help with phone banking, postcard writing (both can be done remotely) and canvassing efforts. We know how many voters we have to reach and having help to do that increases our chances for success in this election.