I talked to Representative Latyna Humphrey at The Bronzeville Push for Peace.
Tell me about your journey and why pursue this passion?
Since my freshman year in college (2011), I knew that I wanted to go into politics. It wasn’t until 2015 that I got involved. I studied other leaders. Representation is important. Senator Nina Turner was someone that I looked up to. Someone who wasn’t the status quo. I didn’t have to look like a Kamala Harris or anyone else. I saw Nina who looked like me and who dressed like she wanted. She was very effective. I got into politics because I wanted to. I stay here because I saw somebody who was doing everything that I wanted to do, being her full and authentic self. It is not easy being a young black woman in politics because a lot of times you get tried. People look at you and try to decipher your capabilities. It is not until I pick up a mic that people give me the validity that I deserve. I have to do the work or say something soul stirring to be validated. I don’t like that. That is what I go through the most. I don’t want to be anybody other than who I am. Dress how I want to dress. I want to be me. I know my track record speaks for itself. Even being in office only 9 months.
What are your job duties (state representative)?
A lot more comes with the position if you want to be effective. You are a legislator which means you create laws, you push back on bad laws, you promote good laws. Those are your main duties. You do that by being a part of committees. Your job is to create laws. In order to be a good state rep, you need to show up to events, have meetings, have town halls, at churches (not just during election season).
Sidebar: I appreciate her recognition that only showing up to churches during election season is not a good thing. As a youth, I thought that was silly and told myself that I wouldn’t vote for someone just because they came to church during election time.
I overheard you tell someone that we changed our districts. Can you explain?
We went through redistricting. Every ten years the lines change and who represents you based on population growth. My district was the entire south side of Columbus, the entire east side of Columbus, and parts of Reynoldsburg, Whitehall, Canal Winchester, and Groveport. Due to population growth, I lost the south side of Columbus and picked up more of Whitehall. Right now, I have 130 constituents. We are supposed to have anywhere from 110 to 115.
I ran unopposed on the primary. I will be unopposed on the general. We have done a lot of good work. I don’t think anyone wanted to come up against that.
Sidebar: She said that with authority. Sort of like smacking down the big joker “to set” your opponents when playing spades.
In the seventh month of office, we brought back 3 million dollars. We have focused on re-entry, alternatives to incarceration, housing, etc. I talked to the current governor about changing the Homestead exemption. I had good mentors who allowed me to run; so, I could deliver for my constituents. I don’t think anyone wanted to compete against my work, in a short amount of time. If you run against me, you have to run hard.
Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you think I should have asked you? If so, go ahead and answer that question.
It is important to know what I did before I got here. I was president of Central Ohio Young Black Democrats for four years. The first female to hold that position. I was community relations for the Franklin County Auditor’s office (Mike Stinziano). Then, I was bailiff for the honorable Judge Carl Aveni. Those jobs and experiences play into my priority and the work that I do.
Like on Judge Judy? If something goes to the left the bailiff brings stuff back to order.
No. They have the sheriff deputy in the room. The bailiff is in charge of making sure the trains are running on time. If you have a good judge, they will involve the bailiff in a lot of his processes. He was a civil attorney for 26 years. A brilliant man. He understood that he didn’t always understand the dynamics of our community. That is where I came into play. I am a daughter of a returning citizen. I grew up in Trevitt Heights. There are a lot of things that I experienced that he had not. He made decisions, but allowed me to provide input. I love that job and I love him for prepping me for today.