Three days after the election, Monique Smith still couldn’t believe she was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. It was only after she received a welcome package that reality finally set in.

Smith, a resident of Fairview Park, will replace Rep. Dave Greenspan of Westlake to represent the 16th district of Ohio. The district serves Fairview Park, Bay Village, North Olmsted, Rocky River and Westlake. Smith won with 34,154 votes, according to the unofficial results of the Nov. 3 election.

“We were extremely cautious on election night,” said Smith, a Democrat. It wasn’t until the next day that we decided to celebrate. This was because her election was extremely close. Incumbent Republican Greenspan won 32,974 votes, just 1,180 votes fewer than Smith’s count.

After beginning her four-year term in January, Smith will focus on improving the health, safety and economic development of her district. She plans to work with other state legislators to come up with smarter gun-safety laws, accessible health care and free COVID-19 testing as well as creating a training program to help unemployed residents find new job opportunities.

However, before that Smith plans to have a listening tour to hear about the community’s needs. Smith has already met with local leaders including mayors and city council members. She also plans to schedule several ride-alongs with police officers to better understand their day-to-day operations.

“I want to make sure that our state is passing legislation that is improving the lives of everyday people,” she said. “Whether they voted red or blue, I work for them and that’s what I’m going to do.”

The representative-elect has been a resident of Fairview Park for three years with her husband, Dan Smith. They have two children, Gabby, 10, and Ben, 7, who attend school in Fairview Park. She was born and raised in Cincinnati by her mother, Linda Winters. Smith says having her kids in public school and growing up in a single-parent household is what helped her understand how public policy can shape the community.

Smith earned her a bachelor’s degree in political science from The Ohio State University. She also was a salesperson for Hyland Software in Westlake.

A Lakewood City Council member from 2010-2014, Smith attributes her victory over Greenspan to the grassroots campaigning her team did.

“I want to acknowledge and thank the community members who rallied around me and supported me during this election,” she said. “We believed that we could change the representation in this district and have better representation for ourselves that reflected our values.”

Contact this reporter at akamczyc@westlifenews.com or 216-307-6614.

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