Ohio Republican Women

We have had many first for Republican Women in Ohio.


Elected in 1922 and serving only one two-year term, Lulu Gleason was the first woman from Lucas County to be elected to the Ohio House of Representatives.  A Republican, her campaign was managed entirely by women and she was backed by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) where she was active in her local chapter for 13 years.  Prior to her election in the House, she was credited with lobbying for legislation which was passed in 1921 to provide for the observance of an annual temperance day program in Ohio public schools.  She served as Chairman of the Temperance Committee in the House, as well as the School and Benevolent and Penal Institutions Committees.  Until her marriage, she managed her own millinery store.  Gleason was a member of various women’s organizations in Toledo where she lived for more than 65 years.



A Republican, Nettie MacKenzie Clapp was the first woman elected to representative Cuyahoga County in the Ohio House of Representatives where she served four consecutive terms.  The first woman legislator to have a bill enacted into law, House Bill 141 which made teaching the Ohio and U.S. Constitutions mandatory in public schools, she was interested in legislation concerning good citizenship, prison reform, wages and education.  Clapp also was the first woman to serve on the Executive Committee of the Republican National Convention in 1924 and she was selected to represent the Ohio General Assembly at the inauguration of President Coolidge.  Born in Cincinnati where she attended the Cincinnati School of Art, she was well-known as a commercial design and illustration artist.  After her marriage, she moved to Cleveland where she was actives in many aspects of civic work.


As a Republican woman trailblazer in the early 1920’s, Nettie Bromley Loughead was the first Ohio woman to receive a nomination for the State Senate, was one the first two women elected to serve in the Ohio Senate, the first woman to represent Hamilton County in the Ohio Senate, the first women legislator to introduce a bill and the first woman to serve on the Senate Labor Committee.  Focusing on legislation dealing with minimum wage, social welfare and legislation of interest to women, Loughead was appointed as a member of a fact-finding commission to investigate the minimum wage for women.  She also chaired a committee to select bills in the best interests of women.  She was born in Cincinnati and was a leader in social-welfare activities, such as the Red Cross, in Cincinnati during the war period.


The first woman to serve in the Ohio General Assembly from Mahoning County, Republican Adelaide Sterling Ott served three terms in the House where she was the first woman member to temporarily preside over the chamber when asked to do so by the House Speaker.  She was the first women to chair the Committee on Permanent Organizations in State Legislature.  Ott was also active in her community where she performed Red Cross canteen work during World War I, raised funds for the American Legion and was president of the Women’s Division at First Baptist Church in Youngstown.  Outspoken on many issues, Ott opposed gas tax legislation because of the additional tax and fought against controversial legislation requiring the reading of the Bible in public schools because she considered reading the Bible “without the religious impulse behind it as more harmful than beneficial”.  She died at the age of 54, not long after serving in the legislature.



The first woman to serve in both chambers of the Ohio Legislature, May Martin Van Wye served three terms in the Ohio House and one term in the State Senate.  A Republican from Cincinnati, she was active in many community interests involving general welfare causes and was active in the Republican party.  Van Wye introduced two bills which were enacted into law and she served as a member of the House Finance and Universities and Colleges Committees.  Later in life, at age 83, she published her first novel, “Eve’s Tower”, a fictional account of a woman state senator from a midwestern state and her role in the workings of state government, as well as her reception from her male peers.  Born in Brooklyn, New York, Van Wye was a teacher and taught kindergarten in public schools in New York prior to moving to Cincinnati after her marriage.



Initially a member of Lakewood City Council, Maude Comstock Waitt resigned a year later after winning a seat in the Ohio Senate where she served four terms.  She chaired three of her six committee assignments in the Senate and she authored three bills which became law.  A strong and highly regarded leader, Waitt believed that the participation of women would improve the condition of politics.  She said “Women are not as strong party adherents as men are.  They think of the principle first then of the party.  The only reason they ally themselves with parties is that they may accomplish more.”  An active civic leader in her district, she was involved with several clubs including the Daughters of the American Revolution, Ladies of the G.A. R. and the Lakewood Republican Club.



Jennette Bradley made history in Ohio and the United States when she was sworn in as the first African-American woman to hold the post of Lt. Governor in 2003.  Early in her career, she became the youngest person in the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority to head the agency when she was just 28 years old.  Elected to Columbus City Council in 1991, Bradley became the first African-American woman to be elected to the council.  She was re-elected for two more terms.  In 2003 Bradley became Ohio’s first African American Lieutenant Governor, one of two elected in the country that year.  She led the state’s Commerce Department, the Clean Ohio Council and the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.  In January of 2005, after the resignation of Ohio’s state treasurer, she was appointed to the post.



Betty Montgomery served as Ohio’s first woman Auditor of State, first woman Attorney General, first woman State Senator from District 2, first woman Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Perrysburg and first woman Wood County Prosecuting Attorney, as well as the only woman prosecutor in the state.  As State Senator, her work included Ohio’s first Living Will Law, Ohio’s first brownfields legislation and Ohio’s Victim’s Rights Law.  Montgomery continues to serve Ohio’s citizens as a member of the Ohio State Medical Board and the JobsOhio Beverage System Board.  Montgomery is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, where she serves on the Board, and the University of Toledo College of Law.

She is an Attorney of Counsel with MacMurray & Shuster LLP and President of Montgomery Consulting Group.  Montgomery also chairs The Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute.



Serving as Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor since 2011, Mary Taylor served as Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance through March 2017 and leads the state’s Common Sense Initiative to reform the state’s regulatory policies.  Taylor previously served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for two terms where she served on the Finance, Ways and Means and the Education Committees and State Auditor for one term.  She began her political career when she was elected to the Green City Council in 2001.  The first Certified Public Accountant to serve as Auditor of State, Taylor received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in taxation from the University of Akron.  She was a candidate in the May 2018 Republican primary for Governor. 


Since 2011 Maureen O’Connor has served as Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court and is the first woman to lead the Ohio judicial branch.  Serving as Justice in the Ohio Supreme Court since 2003 when she became the sixth woman to join the court and gave the court its first-ever female majority, O’Connor has been elected for two additional terms and is active in national judicial organizations.  Serving as Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor for one term, she was named Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety and as Chair of Ohio’s Security Task Force and the State Building Security Review Committee.  Prior to her statewide service, O’Connor was Prosecuting Attorney in Summit County and a Judge in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas.   A graduate of Seton Hill College, she received her law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.


Nancy Hollister began her political career on the Marietta City Council in 1980 where she served four years before becoming Mayor of Marietta where she promoted tourism, business development and helped secure funding for a new bridge across the Ohio River.  She served in this position until 1991 when she was appointed as the Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, a position which allowed her to improve life in Ohio’s 29 Appalachian counties.  She became Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor in 1994 and assisted the Governor with overseeing several state offices and commissions.  After the Governor’s resignation to become a United States Senator, Hollister became Ohio’s first female Governor, serving eleven days until the next Governor began his term.  She was appointed to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1999 and served until 2005.  Hollister is currently Vice President of the State Board of Education.



Jane Timken was elected Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party in 2017.  Previously, she served as Vice-Chairman of the Stark County Republican Party where she was responsible for candidate recruitment, fundraising efforts, implementation of strategy, campaign logistics and volunteer engagement.  An Attorney who worked as a Magistrate and law clerk in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, she graduated cum laude from Harvard College and received her law degree from The American University, Washington College of Law.  Timken is active in the Stark County community, serving on many civic and charitable organizations and boards, and has served as Trustee and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Kent State University.


Beginning in 2005, Judith Lanzinger served in the Ohio Supreme Court until her retirement at the end of 2016 due to mandatory age limits for judges.  She is the only person to ever be elected to all four levels of Ohio’s judiciary—the Toledo Municipal Court, the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, the 6th District Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court.  With her son, Joshua Lanzinger serving on the municipal bench in 2013, it marked the first time a mother and son served together as state court judges.  Lanzinger received both her bachelor’s degree and her law degree from the University of Toledo where she was valedictorian of her class.  She earned a master’s degree in Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno where she taught trial practice for 18 years.



Sharon Kennedy was elected to the Ohio Supreme Court in 2012.  Kennedy began her career in the justice system as a police officer at the Hamilton Police Department where she worked undercover, implemented crime prevention programs and, as a civil assistant, assisted in drafting police policy and procedure for the Accreditation Program.  A graduate of The University of Cincinnati College of Law, Kennedy was a solo attorney in private practice, served as special counsel for the Ohio Attorney General’s office and worked as a part-time magistrate in Butler County area courts.  Beginning in 1999 she served at the Butler County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division and was administrative judge from 2005-2012.



Judith French became an Ohio Supreme Court justice in 2013 and visited all 88 Ohio counties in her first two years as justice.  Prior to becoming a member of the Ohio Supreme Court, she spent eight years as a judge on the Tenth District Court of Appeals where she authored more than 800 legal opinions and served as Chief Legal Counsel in the Governor’s office.  French previously served as Deputy Director for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and as an Assistant Attorney General and Chief Counsel in the Ohio Attorney General’s office where she argued two cases before the United States Supreme Court.  She has received three degrees from The Ohio State University—B.A. in political science, M.A. in history and J.D. with honors.



Evelyn Stratton retired as Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court in 2012, after serving since her appointment in 1996.  She retired with three years remaining in her term because of her commitment to provide mental health services to offenders and assist veterans in the criminal justice system which she accomplishes through her work in a central Ohio law firm.  The daughter of missionary parents, Stratton spent her childhood in southeast Asia and returned to the United States at age 18.  A graduate of The Ohio State University College of Law, Stratton began her legal career as a trial lawyer in central Ohio and was the first woman elected Judge of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.


The newest member of the Ohio Supreme Court, Mary DeGenaro was appointed in January 2018 and is running for election in November 2018.  DeGenaro was a judge on the Seventh District Court of Appeals but held many other roles prior to becoming a judge.  She served as an adjunct faculty member of the political science department at Youngstown State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree.  A graduate of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, DeGenaro was an intern with a U.S. District Court judge.  At the time of her appointment to the Ohio Supreme Court, she was also vice president of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association.  She has also served on the Poland Village Council.