From eviction to election, Yvette Simpson tells a story of perseverance

Posted at 10:59 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 18:29:46-04

CINCINNATI -- The night before her high school graduation in 1996, Yvette Simpson came home to find an eviction notice pinned to her family's front door.

It wasn't the first time she had lost a home -- the mayoral hopeful spent much of her childhood being shuffled from house to house and relative to relative as her parents grappled with illness and addiction -- but it stung the worst, she said.

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She spent the night scared, making frantic calls in search of a safe place to sleep, but she walked across the stage to accept her diploma the next day.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," she said the week before Cincinnati's May 2 mayoral primary. "And I'm not dead yet."

Simpson would go on to earn a juris doctorate and a master's degree (from the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University, respectively), to mount a successful campaign for City Council in 2011 and then to challenge Democratic rivals John Cranley and Rob Richardson Jr. for the Mayor's seat.

The way she tells it, her story is about resilience, and she hopes she can empower the city of Cincinnati to be resilient, too.

Simpson isn't afraid to discuss her challenging childhood or the ways it's affected her desire to combat childhood poverty and homelessness, but she said she also wants her fellow Cincinnatians to know she's a normal person to whom they can speak honestly. That's why she pours beer at Findlay Market on weekends.

"I say you can't serve the people if you don't serve the people beer," she said.

The only quality that sets her above the crowd is perseverance, she said.

And when she looks at the city, she sees potential.

"(I see) a hopeful future," she said. "Opportunity. Work to do, and the promise of more."

Cincinnatians will decide May 2 whether that perseverance has earned Simpson their vote to move forward or whether she'll have to set her sights slightly lower.

Although her hopes are high, based on the way she talks, it's hard to believe she'd let a defeat keep her down for long.