Attorney Keara Dever had a desire to get involved in local politics for years.
Then the opportunity to run for Clerk of Kettering Municipal Court arose and now that desire has become a reality.
“My wife and I sat down and talked about it, and I was like, why not me? I’m a great fit for this position,” Dever says.
Dever describes the clerk’s office as being “the central hub of the entire courthouse, and decisions made for the office affect every aspect of how the court system is run.” The Kettering Municipal Court serves the residents of Kettering, Centerville, Moraine, and Washington Township, all suburbs of Dayton.
If elected this November, the attorney – who lives in Centerville with her wife, Lauren, also an attorney, and their two dogs, Bader and Kagan (after the Supreme Court Justices) – will be the first openly LGBTQ+ person to hold the office of Clerk of Courts in Kettering.
The Buckeye Flame spoke with the candidate about her boundary-breaking bid.
Why run now?
Over the course of my adult life, I’ve always wanted to get involved, and a candidate was needed for this election. My wife and I sat down and talked about it, and I was like, why not me? I’m a great fit for this position.
What experiences have prepared you for this role?
I’m an attorney. I’ve been practicing for four years. In my practice, I’ve traveled to over 40 different courthouses across the state of Ohio – which means I’ve seen 40 different clerk’s offices. Not only that, I’ve dealt with them personally, so I’ve seen which ones work well and which ones don’t. I’d like to take the things I’ve learned that work well in a clerk’s office and apply them to Kettering Municipal Court to better serve people. I know our clerk’s office is more capable than what’s going on right now to help the public.
What will your priorities be if elected?
My number one priority will be accessibility, so that everybody who has business with the court knows how to access it, whether that be online or in person. There are agencies we can work with – like the Montgomery County Public Defenders’ Office and the University of Dayton School of Law – to help people who don’t know how to navigate the court. Handing someone a form and telling them to fill it out and bring it back doesn’t help anyone. We need to have people there who can give advice and help people fill out the forms. Going to court can be an overwhelming experience – why not provide people help?
Updating the systems and technology in the court is another big priority. Kettering Municipal Court – it’s a beautiful building, but outdated with its technology. We need electronic filing and to stop relying on paper records-keeping.
Why is it important for people to vote in local elections?
I think local elections have the most direct effect on people’s lives. Clerk of Courts – let’s be honest, it’s not a very sexy title – but it’s important to use your power as a vote to pick who is going to represent you and your interests in your own community. Your vote is your voice; use it! All you have to do is take five minutes to go and do it, or request an absentee ballot and do it from your couch. Either way, make a plan, take the time out of your day, and vote!
If elected, you will be the first out lesbian to be Kettering’s Clerk of Courts. What would that mean to you?That’s really cool. I haven’t thought about that. It’s awesome. To me, [getting elected]would mean that I’m showing everyone – especially younger people, I think – that the door is open for anybody who wants to try and make it through. I hope – though I know we’re not fully there yet – that it doesn’t matter I’m gay. I hope that it just means I am the most qualified person, and people have the faith in me to elect me to a position. 🔥