U.S. Senate Candidate and UF Alumna Turns Negative Past into a Positive Future
Taking a first look at Kelli Prather, you see a strong, independent and passionate women.
From being a first generation college student, to a successful business woman and starting her own organization, Kelli Prather has truly made a name for herself. Then when you think she can’t do anymore, she decides to put her 25 years of experience behind the scenes of politics to good use by running for U.S Senate this year; in the upcoming primary election, she is vying against P.G. Sittenfeld and Ted Strickland for the democratic nomination. On top of all this, if she wins in November, she will be the very first African American women to represent the state of Ohio.
However, what you do not see at first glance are the struggles and heartache Kelli has been through to get to where she is today.
In 2004, Kelli’s world was flipped upside down when she was shot in the back by her then husband.
“As traumatizing as that experience was, honestly I feel like I had to go through that in order to understand the significance, understand people who are in those situations, what the experience is like,” she said, “It taught me to never be judgmental of anyone in that situation because you never know how you will react until you’re faced with a particular situation.”
Kelli did not let her experience with domestic violence stop her from pursuing her dreams. If anything it has taught her the power of forgiveness, how important it is to have a strong relationship with God, and how to be a positive light in her campaign as she plans to set up social services for people who are dealing with domestic violence.
With domestic violence and gun control being two of Kelli’s platforms, she is also passionate about healthcare, public safety, education and economic inclusion. Her goal as the next U.S. Senator is to assist and improve the greater racial equity and social economic equity in these areas.
Not only has she been an active political voice in the state of Ohio, she also resided in New York.
“It was one of the best personal and professional decisions I’ve ever made in my life,” Kelli said.
Living in a place other than Ohio made Kelli realize that everything we have here locally trickles from the coastal states, one example of that being immigration reform.
Besides the political side of things, Kelli also made great relationships in New York with people from all over the world that she is still close with today, and who supported her when she went through her traumatic experience.
One of the main reasons Kelli went to New York was to start her business, Enhance Healthcare Solutions, a home health agency. She started the business in Ohio, took it to New York, and is now back in Ohio. Being a very successful business woman, she also owns other small businesses to support her family, like her Property Management Company, and she even has invested in some real estate as well.
Being from the Cincinnati public school system, it is not usual for someone to go to college and get an education after graduating. Kelli, also being a first generation college student, broke through the stereotypes and even received her master’s degree in occupational therapy here at the University of Findlay.
In 2001 Kelli earned master’s degree in occupational therapy at UF, and completed some graduate work, which makes her stand out in the election by being able to better understand promoting healthcare as a politician. She is even looking forward to becoming a lobbyist for occupational therapy in the future.
When asked what her favorite part about being an Oiler was, Kelli smiled as she answered simply because she was different. Even though she was considered a minority as an African American women, that didn’t stop Kelli from embracing who she was. In fact she enjoyed encouraging her colleagues to cherish diversity.
“I was able to offer insight that people from rural areas probably would not have gained because the cultural makeup was different,” said Prather.
Her passion for diversity as also resulted in Kelli being a social justice and civil rights activist. Kelli is a lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and has created her own organization called Cincinnati Black Teen Ambassadors to empower the minority community.
Despite all of the hardships Kelli has faced, she still remains positive by continuing to follow her dreams, accomplishing her goals, and believing in herself. She has truly lived up to her life motto: “It’s not where you come from, it’s where you go that matters.”
Follow Kelli Prather’s campaign on her Facebook page: Kelli Prather for U.S. Senate 2016. You can also follow her on Instagram and twitter.
Additionally, Prather recently participated in a video interview at UF, which can be viewed here.