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Dumas becomes first African American county commission president

Black Family Reunion Parade 2018
Posted at 5:54 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 17:23:02-05

CINCINNATI — Hamilton County Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas made history when she became the county's first African American county commissioner in 2018. She made history again Tuesday when she became the county's first African American commission president.

After her historic election to the county commission in 2018, she led the way for others to follow, including former commissioner Victoria Parks and current commissioner Alicia Reece.

"The door was open, and you have to walk through that door as long as it's open or it's going to close behind you," said Dumas.

She said her new role shows inclusion is possible, but doesn't believe that should be the sole focus.

"I want to focus on accepting people for who they are," said Dumas. "And their ability to do the job."

The title doesn't come with any elevated voting power, but she'll preside over meetings and set agendas. She said her priorities include getting vital aid to small businesses and those struggling with homelessness more quickly.

"Just move a bit quicker, not just about the CARES Act, but I cringe when I see the homeless population is increasing so dramatically."

She said her main goal is simple: To serve with integrity.

"Being able to look in the mirror in the morning and knowing that I did the right thing or I did the best that I could do is I want to be my legacy," she said. "And that I've helped the least of us."

The county commission typically restructures every two years. Dumas said she believes that gives the president enough time to really dig in and lead.