Meagan Hall

A Second Wind


Former statehouse candidate Sarah Grace is vying for a seat on city council

Lauren Fisher / Asst. News Editor

She’s an Ohio University alumna and a mother of four — and if the votes are in her favor, she might just be the next at-large member of the Athens City Council.


Sarah Grace has recently made her return to the local spotlight following her 2016 run for state representative and hopes to give back to the “vibrant, funky town” she calls home.


“The public health field seems like a good way to combine my interest in health care and commitment to public service.”– Sarah Grace

“I recognize what a privilege it is, and I know that this hasn’t happened by accident,” Grace said in an email. “It has taken the dedication of countless community members and public servants. I am running because I am committed to public service and working in whatever way that I can to not only keep it going, but perhaps to make it even better.”


In 2016, Grace campaigned as the Democratic candidate for Ohio’s 94th House district, losing 58 to 42 percent to Republican Jay Edwards. Unsure of what her next step would be following the loss, Grace returned to OU, where she is now pursuing her master’s degree in public health —  a degree she hopes to use to continue serving her community.


“I have always had an interest in health care and have become increasingly aware of gaps and significant health care needs that rural communities face,” Grace said. “The public health field seems like a good way to combine my interest in health care and commitment to public service.”


Since her last campaign, Grace has been studying, recovering from a recent surgery and spending time with loved ones, including her husband, local Athens Municipal Court Judge Todd Grace.


“I focused on spending time with my family and being grateful for the joys of being together in Athens,” Grace said. “My oldest child is a senior in high school, so as a family we took a trip to visit about a dozen different colleges and universities for him to consider.”


Grace’s former campaign manager, Nathan Cotton, who now works with Zack Space’s campaign for Ohio auditor, said Grace is someone who will be “very approachable and open minded” in decisionmaking.


“Sarah is one of the smartest people I've ever met, and that really comes through with how prepared she is to discuss public policy,” Cotton said in an email. “That preparation and knowledge is really valuable, especially when coupled with her more holistic understanding of the Athens community, which has been developed as a parent of kids in local schools, interacting with local businesses, and operating her own.”


Despite her loss during last year’s election, Grace’s focus remains on improving Athens.


“My positions on issues and my hopes for this region of Ohio have not changed,” Grace said. “My personal focus and priorities, are currently more specifically on Athens, family and school though.”


Those priorities include efforts to allow more OU students to remain in Athens after graduation by increasing the availability of affordable housing and supporting more “innovative, good paying jobs.”


“I also want to see the city continue to work towards increased sustainability, e.g. curbside composting, more energy efficiency, and solar,” Grace said. “Part of why I love Athens, is because I appreciate the funky progressive atmosphere of the town. I want more people to be able to contribute to and enjoy it as I have.”

Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

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