When asked for her fondest childhood memory, Paula Hicks-Hudson says, “My best memory of growing up in Hamilton was the sense of community. It seems as if all the adults I encountered there encouraged, expected and provided opportunities for young people.” State Representative Paula Hick-Hudson grew up in Hamilton, Ohio.
Equality was a hallmark of her upbringing. “My parents instilled in me the idea that everyone is important. My father used to say that you treat the wino in the street the same way that you treat the President of the United States. I believe that everyone desires to be heard and respected.” she said recently. “Much of who I am stems from the family that I grew up in.”
Rep. Hudson has always been drawn to public service. “As a youngster in high school, I was a member of student government. My older brother used to say that I should become a lawyer because I always had an argument. I decided to go to law school to work on behalf of children.”
Rep. Hicks-Hudson believes in the value of education. She said, “Education is the most precious and powerful tool one can have. My father left the segregated South with a 6th grade education. He instilled into his children that education was one thing that could not be taken away.”
A proud graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Rep. Hicks-Hudson says, “There I was exposed to talented and smart African American Women leaders who were teachers, national figures and icons in their various fields/professions. We were told that we could change the world.”
“My undergraduate degree is in political science, but my foray into elected office began when a community activist asked me to consider running for public office to help change the devastation occurring in our Toledo neighborhoods.” Rep. Hicks-Hudson was up for the task. From 1998 to 2002 she served as legislative director of Toledo City Council. In 2019 she became the first black female Mayor of Toledo.
She has also worked as an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, assistant public defender, assistant state attorney general, legislative director of the Toledo City Council, director and deputy director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, and chief legal counsel to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management.
Rep. Hicks-Hudson’s children were raised in Toledo. “My husband, Freeman W. Hudson, believed that Toledo was on the cusp of redevelopment and revitalization. We found the city a great place for our children to grow up. My family is very important to me. My husband was my best and biggest supporter. He never hindered me from pursuing my education or activities. Our children are productive adults who are caring and confident individuals. I work for them and other children, our future.” Rep. Hicks-Hudson has 7 grandchildren.
Side Bar Questions and Answers:
Do you have any aspirations to contribute to politics in a new way?
I hope to get younger people involved in public service.
Can you please share how being a mature adult, and a female, has impacted the last few years of your life? Some might say that I am not fitting into the category of being a mature adult/female.
At first, I wasn’t sure why younger folks were offering to put my suitcase in the overhead bin on the airplane. But now, I accept their help. I have a motorcycle (a Spyder). I believe that life is an adventure, and I intend to live it as much as possible.
Do you have an exercise routine and what does exercise do for you?
I do yoga now and it keeps me flexible.
Do you have a favorite Toledo meal or a secret treat you love?
What do you enjoy reading?
Mysteries and biographies.
Can you share a favorite quote?
Dwell in Possibilities.
What would you say to a youth considering a career in law or in politics?
We need you!
Do you have a hobby?
I have a lot and not a lot of time. I knit, read and play the piano.
From Mayor of Toledo to State Representative – What’s next?
Politically, I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Lucas County as the state senator in District 11. Personally, I want to remain healthy, engaged and travel, when I can, with my grands.