We need her voice now more than ever.
Lorraine Wilburn is a wife, mom, and tireless and passionate advocate for her community. She lives with her husband and two young children in North Canton. She is the founder of Action Together Stark, a grassroots progressive organization, and she is running for Ohio State Representative in District 48.
Throughout her life, Lorraine has always been politically active and engaged in the issues that matter to her, her family, and her community. Born in New Jersey, her family moved to Maryland when she was very young. She was inspired early on as she heard and read stories about her great-grandfather, who worked as a newspaper journalist and White House correspondent. It was through hearing stories of his career, and later, as a young woman sitting at his writing desk and reading his articles, that she developed a passion for politics and learning to speak truth to power.
As early as 12 years old, she volunteered on the Mondale-Ferraro campaign, hoping to help elect the first woman vice president. Then, at the age of 17, she served as a peer counselor educating young women about reproductive health. This experience led her to work at various domestic violence shelters serving as a volunteer coordinator and advocate for families in crisis. She also served on a community housing task force fighting for the rights of tenants in low-income housing. Years later, Lorraine would use her social activist background to help grow the Young Democrats club. Ultimately, she sat on her county’s Democratic Central Committee and championed progressive candidates who would fight for working families and rebuild local historic districts.
Like many Americans, Lorraine struggled with paying for college right out of high school. She worked nights as a bartender for a number of years before putting herself through college. After, studying Sociology at Towson University, Lorraine found new ways to advocate for women and families in crisis on a global scale by becoming a government contractor in Bethesda, MD for the National Institutes of Health. There she served as an Analyst supporting international vaccine research and clinical trials dedicated to eradicating infectious diseases. Later she worked with Microfinance Transparency, a non-profit promoting transparent microfinance lending practices that offer economic growth and security for women and families in developing countries.
Lorraine moved to Ohio when her husband’s work brought them to North Canton where she spent several years taking care of her family. In response to the 2016 election, she felt a need to connect to her community and out of that grew Action Together Stark. Like so many women, she was looking for a way to volunteer her time, energy, and talents to have a meaningful impact on her community and country. She has spent the last two years working with friends, neighbors, community leaders, and faith leaders to encourage and inspire the community to educate themselves and get engaged in the political process. It was the overwhelmingly positive response to Action Together Stark, along with growing tired of not seeing herself or her values represented in government that led Lorraine to this moment.
Working with the community, she discovered she is not alone. She listened to her neighbors’ concerns about working harder than ever but not quite making ends meet. She heard worries over the rising cost and shrinking access to quality healthcare. She listened to parents’ anxiety about schools, children’s safety, and the environmental legacy that they will inherit. She heard from teachers, nurses, and union members about their fears over the erosion of workers’ rights, stagnant salaries, and the lack of quality jobs. The theme that threaded through all of these conversations: people are tired of not being heard and they are disgusted with politicians who place corporate and political interests above the community. She understands these concerns because they are her concerns too. We need a new generation of leaders who will put people first. We can do better for our children ensuring an excellent education for all students and safe schools and streets. We can do better for our families by expanding access to affordable healthcare and bringing quality jobs to Ohio. We can do better for our communities by investing in infrastructure and clean energy. Lorraine knows we can do better. She is running so that District 48 will have a voice that they can count on to put them first and always fight for better.