Nan Whaley may be a stranger to most Ohioans who learned this morning she’s running for governor, but Dayton’s mayor quickly made a name for herself in local politics and hopes to catapult to statewide prominence.
Related: Dayton Mayor announces run for governor
Here’s a few things to know about Mayor Whaley:
1. Background: Whaley, an Indiana native, graduated from the University of Dayton with a chemistry degree in 1998. She earned her master’s degree in public administration from Wright State University in 2009. Whaley worked as the assistant to Montgomery County auditor. She started and headed the UD College Democrats while enrolled at the school. She was state chair of the College Democrats of Ohio. She later was the Montgomery County press secretary for John Kerry’s presidential campaign. She also was the executive director of the Montgomery County Democratic Party.
Stay in the know: Sign up for our Ohio Politics newsletter
2. Making history: The 41-year-old became the youngest woman ever elected to the Dayton City Commission (at the age of 29). She served two terms on the city commission before being elected mayor in 2013. She is the city’s second female mayor. She is also the first Dayton mayoral candidate, since the office was selected separately, to run unopposed. The election is in November.
3. Views. Whaley is liberal. She was proud to preside over one of the first same-sex weddings in the state after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down legislation banning the unions. She advocated for the United States to accept more Syrian refugees. She has criticized efforts to repeal Obamacare and supports expanded Medicaid. She has been a persistent critic of state funding cuts to local governments and says wealthier Ohioans are not paying their fair share in taxes.
4. Family. Her father worked at a GM plant in Indiana that sent trucks to Moraine, just south of Dayton, for final assembly. The plant closed, and her father’s job was cut, forcing him into early retirement. Whaley is married to Sam Braun, who works in the Montgomery County Auditor’s office (like she once did). Whaley and Braun, who wed in 2007, both like card games, including bridge, and Braun hosts a regular game for friends. Whaley and Braun met in 2002 while serving as volunteers on a political campaign.
5. A little extra. Nan is her nickname. Her real name is Nannette. She has lived in the Five Oaks neighborhood, in the northwestern part of Dayton, since 2001.