HHFA’s “Sista to Watch” is:
Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH)
Occupation: Member of Congress
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Follow her on Twitter: @RepMarciaFudge
About Marcia L. Fudge:
Representative Fudge is a committed public servant who brings a hard-working, problem-solving spirit to Congress and to the task of creating jobs, attacking predatory lending, and improving health care, small business, and education. These characteristics were honed while serving as Warrensville Heights’ first African American female Mayor. As the city’s top executive, Representative Fudge led Warrensville Heights in building 200 new homes and shoring up a sagging retail base.
Representative Fudge serves on the House Agriculture Committee, continuing her commitment to ending childhood obesity in a generation, stamping out hunger and monitoring the safety of our food supply. She also serves on the Education and the Workforce Committee, and is a strong advocate for policies to strengthen our education system and promote job creation.
The Congresswoman is now serving in her third consecutive full term. She was elected in a special election in November 2008, re-elected in the general election that was held that same month and most recently in 2012. She is highly respected by her congressional colleagues for her insight, wisdom, and honesty. In 2012, the Congresswoman was unanimously elected by her colleagues to serve as Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus in the 113th Congress. As a dedicated public servant, she begins each morning with a firm promise “to do the people’s work”. That simple philosophy defines this Congresswoman of substance and character who always keeps her promise.
HHFA recently asked Congresswoman Fudge about her journey and what advice she can offer to Black women across the country that also want to engage, advocate and lead.
Higher Heights: What inspired you to want to work in the political arena?
REP. FUDGE: I am a public servant. It’s what I do, what I enjoy doing, and what I do well. My family and members of my community have always been involved in service, whether in the church, our community or various organizations. My public service is a natural progression of what I have always known.
Higher Heights: What advice do you have for Black women that want to spark change?
REP. FUDGE: First, realize what you want to change, and then get involved with people who can help make the change. In other words, you have to see a problem, envision a solution, and surround yourself with people who can help achieve that solution. Start by getting involved at the grass roots, servant level, and you will see the needs and learn about possible solutions.
Higher Heights: What do you feel is the single most pressing issue facing Black women today and why?
REP. FUDGE: Financial stability and security. Historically and now Black women have served as the foundation of families even when they are not single parents. We care for children and parents, among others. Many of us are educated and earn good money, but use so much of it for the care of others. Financial stability and security for Black women is stressed by our concerns for the education of our children, ensuring that those we love are clothed, housed and fed. The threats to financial stability and security for Black women have been exacerbated by the loss of African American wealth in the last 4-5 years.
Higher Heights: Tell us about a woman mentor that has helped you on your journey?
Rep. FUDGE: I’ve had so many – my mother, every teacher, from Sunday School to Grade School to Law School; every employer. Some took more time than others, but all had a hand in helping me on this journey. If I had to name one it would be Dr. Jeanne Noble, who saw things in me as a young woman that I did not see in myself. She always talked to me, encouraged me and challenged me.
Higher Heights: What organizations do you belong to?
REP. FUDGE: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – Past National President (1996-2000); Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Advisory Council; Humpty Dumpty Institute Advisory Board; Black Women’s PAC (Cleveland, Ohio); Black Elected Democrats of Cleveland OH.