Five months after Connie Pillich and Gwen McFarlin joined forces to become the first female co-chair of the Hamilton County’s Democratic Party, Pillich led a nonprofit in Washington.
Pillich, a former state official from Montgomery, has assumed the position of executive director of the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ), a non-partisan organization that supports women judges across the country and encourages other women to run for justice.
“It’s just an exciting opportunity to make a real difference in an area that is important to me,” said Pillich, a former Air Force office and attorney. “I am thrilled and honored to take up this challenge.”
The fact of the matter is that Pillich has been quietly working for NAWJ for several weeks while she was still doing her job as co-chair of the Democratic Party. After the election, she started working full-time for the non-profit organization.
It’s been a one-year whirlwind for Pillich, who began in 2018 as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Ohio governor. It broke off when former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray entered the race.
Then, in June, she and McFarlin, a trustee of Springfield Township, teamed up and were elected co-chairs of the party, replacing Tim Burke, who was stepping down after nearly a quarter of a century.
The arrangement was simple – McFarlin would focus on her specialty – grassroots organization and voting efforts – while Pillich would take on the party’s fundraising.
She was a great fundraiser for her own campaigns, raising over $ 6 million for her runs for state officials and an unsuccessful bid for the Ohio Treasurer.
Pillich is leaving Hamilton County politics after an election that saw the Democrats not do well nationwide but had their best year in Hamilton County.
Every nationwide Democratic candidate, from governor down, won in Hamilton County. The Democrats took on five judge posts. And with the surprise election of Stephanie Summerow Dumas over Republican incumbent Chris Monzel, the Democrats will now have all three seats on the Hamilton County Commission.
Pillich said she went looking for a job in the nonprofit world after serving as governor and after helping McFarlin run the party for several months.
“I wanted to be in the public service because that attracts me more than anything. That’s why I got into the nonprofit world and when I saw this job and its mission I really felt compelled to apply,” he said 58-year-old Pillich.
Pillich and her husband Paul Forshey will keep their home in Cincinnati but will spend most of their time in Washington.
McFarlin remains party chairman until term expires after the 2020 primaries.
NAWJ was founded in 1979 by two California judges. One of her goals was to validate the first woman for a seat on the US Supreme Court. It did so two years later when Judge Sandra Day O’Connor was confirmed.
O’Connor was a founding member of NAWJ, and every woman who has served on the Supreme Court has been a member since then.