By Bobby Hilton
A historical number of women won political victories across the nation in November 2018. The overwhelming success was recognized as “The Year of the Woman.”
One of the historical wins occurred in Hamilton County, achieved by a woman with little name recognition and a small budget. Stephanie Summerow Dumas won a seat on the Board of the Hamilton County Commissioners, beating an incumbent. With this win, she became the first African American to serve on the board. On Tuesday, January 5, 2021, Stephanie was voted in as President of Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, becoming the first African American Board President.
Commissioner Denise Driehaus held the office of President in 2019 and 2020. She was referred to as Madam President. Now Madam President Stephanie Summerow Dumas is honored to lead the three seat county commission. All three seats are held by women for only the second time in history.
Stephanie Summerow Dumas held the office of Vice Mayor and Mayor for 12 years in the City of Forest Park, many are just now becoming acquainted with her. She was born in the West End and raised in Avondale along with three sisters. She said she knew she wanted to help others since the age of six.
Dumas attended Walnut Hills and Hughes High Schools. She earned a full academic scholarship to University of Cincinnati and graduated in 1977 with a B.S. in Social Work. In addition to serving as a Mayor, her professional experience includes working as a Licensed Social Worker, Client Rights Advocate, Mental Health Administrator, Healthy Relationship Facilitator, Federal Grant Reviewer, Executive Administrator and Village Manager of Lincoln Heights.
In 2019, she took the seat as a commissioner with the county facing a 40-million-dollar deficit. During her second year, Hamilton County, the nation and much of the world faced a life-threatening medical emergency, which had never been experienced before in our lifetime. The COVID-19 virus required many operations to temporarily shut down. Conventions and hotel reservations were cancelled. Government budgets were on the brink of devastation. As Vice President of the Board of Commissioners, Stephanie focused on the health and well-being of citizens. She knew the myriad of problems detrimental to families, especially those already experiencing difficulties.
Dumas is honored to have contributed to the oversite and utilization of 142 million dollars of Pandemic Resources funded by the CARES Act. The funds were available to citizens and businesses of Hamilton County suffering loss. With targeted guidance, the commissioners assisted small businesses, the homeless, arts, youth, non-profits, seniors, domestic violence victims and others.
2020 was one tremendously trying year. However, she is proud to report, citizens and businesses were given relief and the County has a balanced budget.
We celebrate Black History Month congratulating Madam President Stephanie Summerow Dumas. She takes the helm of the commission determined to lead with integrity and transparency, keeping the needs of citizens first. She looks forward to officially launching a campaign to retain her seat in 2022 and continue serving as a Hamilton County Commissioner.