Bridges is a former president of the Hispanic/Latino Democratic Caucus of Lucas County and served on the executive committee of the Lucas County Democratic Party. She left that position to help launch the Judge Joseph A. Flores Scholarship at the University of Toledo Foundation.
She also wanted to spend more time with her family. Her husband Jonathan is a financial analyst with Chrysler in Toledo.
When La Prensa interviewed Bridges in December 2004 about her then-career change, this reporter commented that “Her son Donovan will be almost seven years old when the 2008 election rolls around.” Then we asked, “Does this mean Bridges will return to the political arena?” Her response was simply that “She’s not ruling out any possibilities at this point.”
Donovan has since been joined by his sister Olivia, who her mother says is “11 months old going on 12.”
Donovan is quickly getting a political education. Last Sunday, his mother says she “took him to the Hillary Clinton campaign event where Bill Clinton appeared. I explained to him that this year we were seeing history made with both a: black and female presidential candidate. Donovan thought about it for a moment and then said, ‘We’re voting for the girl,’” says Bridges.
Donovan certainly earned the reward of having Bill Clinton personally autograph a page in Donovan’s book of U.S. presidents.
On Saturday, Bridges attended the University of ToledoLatino Alumni and Affiliate Meeting. Not only was it an opportunity for her to meet many new faces, but she says she received a great deal of support for her campaign.
What does Bridges feel is the greatest strength she would bring to the School Board?
“I am experienced in community activism and I can bring that to the table. As a housing attorney, I worked as a legislation lobbyist with community groups. There are a lot of issues that need to be changed locally, and some of it can be done by lobbying in Columbus,” replies Bridges.
“Steve Steel of the School Board is excited about the prospect of my becoming a member,” adds Bridges. “He is concerned about the issue of school funding, and I think I can be an asset there,” she explains.
However, Bridges is realistic when it comes down to one aspect that could become an issue. Her son Donovan attends a private school, Maumee Valley Country Day School.
“That may be an issue, although there is precedent for the child of a School Board member attending a private school” she acknowledges. “But there is a reason why he’s there. Long before I decided to try for the seat on the School Board, I tried to get him into a Toledo Public School with which I would be comfortable.
Her neighborhood school is Old Orchard Elementary which is on Academic Watch. Although she heard many negative stories about the school from other parents, she went to check it out for herself. She was told the school did not give any tours but she could look around after she registered Donovan.
Bridges then applied at Grove Patterson, where Donovan would have to be part of a lottery. Once again, she was told there were no tours.
“I know they have a good curriculum, and I was told I should come to a PTA meeting. I did, and I heard from a number of parents. Most of it was great feedback, but some were complaints. I knew it was a good school, but Donovan was not chosen for the lottery.
“However, I was told that he could get in if someone else opted out. So I waited all summer until the beginning of the school year. I called the school every week and even went there on the first day of school. But no one opted out,” says Bridges.
The last option was to try Beverley but school was already starting so Donovan was enrolled at Maumee Valley. “We were fortunate because we had to means to do that and find a solution. But many parents can not. Other people do not have that option,” says Bridges.
“That’s why one of the things I would like to do as a member of the School Board is to have the schools help families by being able to educate the parent population about the many good things Toledo Public Schools have to offer,” says Bridges.