“I’m a lifelong resident,” Vaughn said. “I believe I have the passion to make a difference, the experience of working collaboratively all of my career, of willingness to take on tough issues, and make it my full-time job.
“I said, ‘When I retire, I’m going to not necessarily retire, but reinvent myself, and do something that I give back.”
“Politics has always been an interest area of mine, but there was no way I could commit to anything while I worked a 60-hour-week job,” she said.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Miami 1981, and a 1985 Miami Master’s in sociology, criminology and deviance. Vaughn ran last year for the Ohio House 51st District seat but was defeated by Sara Carruthers of Hamilton.
“When that was over, I took a few months, but when it came right down to it, and I weighed, ‘What do I do?’ my heart was still in it, but probably more so in Hamilton than any other thing,” Vaughn said.
She graduated in 1969 from Ross High School and married a couple years after that. She and husband John, who runs Miami Hamilton’s downtown center, will be married 49 years in August.
Council Member Kathleen Klink is not seeking re-election, while Matt Von Stein has not said whether he is running for the position that pays $300 per year.
“If in fact all the council members were running again, everyone who’s eligible, I probably would not challenge them,” Vaughn said. “I think Hamilton is in one the best places it’s been in, in many, many years.”
She supports the enormous Spooky Nook at Champion Mill indoor sports complex and convention center. She said she believes it will be a boon for the community, but adds she doesn’t understand all the ways the city is financing it. Still, she said she trusts the city officials who have made those decisions.
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One thing she would like to see is more transparency in city government.
“Going to council as often as I do, I go home and I’ll read the paper, and I’ll say, ‘Where did that come from? Something’s happening now. So it’s happened, and they’re not transparent all the time.
“And I think we need transparency.”
Part of the solution, she said, is “having more public opportunities for people to know what’s going on. I believe the more opportunities we give for that, the more people will turn out (at meetings).”
Also, “I think we have to look at mental health,” she said. “I think right now, we’re in crisis mode with mental health issues in the state of Ohio,” including with drugs and alcohol: “We need to figure out ways to support those with the mental-health issues. That’s not necessarily a city council issue, but it is an issue for the community.”
She served on the former Butler County Drug and Alcohol Addiction Services board for several years and the Lane Library board. She and John Vaughn were co-founders 25 years ago of Encore Youth Theatre, which works with students from 7th through 12th grades. She is mother to Elizabeth, 44, a longtime teacher at Highland Elementary School, and Patrick, 40, who lives in California.