Castle for city council


Sydnie Barrett

With just a few weeks left until election day, Jaime Castle continues her campaign while being a long-term substitute teacher for WHHS. She teaches English 8AA during bells four and five and sometimes subs for other bells when needed.

Jaime Castle went from a busy mom, soccer coach, substitute teacher and active volunteer in her church to giving her first speech and running for US congress almost overnight.

Last year, Castle and her friends wanted to vote out the city’s current representative but he didn’t have any opponents which is why she decided to run. Normally, running for a position in congress takes months of planning and networking but for Castle, it was an urgent, spontaneous decision.

“Time was running out, there was only a month left to step up and run, we said amongst ourselves, ‘one of us needs to run for congress. No big deal right?’ So I was like ‘I’ll do it.’ It was super impulsive.”

Jaime Castle is a name you will see on the ballot as an unregistered democrat for city council this year. is a long-term substitute teacher at WHHS for English 8 AA this year. She’s been a substitute at CPS schools Hyde Park, Mt. Washington and WHHS, for four years. 

During the Congressional run she won Hamilton County, but as she expected, lost the other seven counties. Castle wanted to be a voice for those who wanted to see change but has no regrets about running. Through that election, she was able to meet and connect with stakeholders in the city and state. 

“I called my opponent that day to concede… and he said ‘Jaime you know you’re a good person, you did a really good job and you should keep at it because I lost my first election [too]. You should try again.’ It was really nice because normally politics are gross and nasty. It was a nice validation.” Castle said.  

A week later Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown called her, encouraging Castle to get back out there and try again. Castle found these words of encouragement from fellow politicians validating and a refreshing change from how politics is normally viewed. 

“I felt this responsibility to represent women and mothers and even children because as a teacher, I’m really sensitive and energetic toward youth programming and youth initiatives to get kids and teenagers, safe places, good opportunities and strong education,” Castle said. 

With this newfound energy, she was ready to get back out there and run for a city-level position on city council this year. Because Castle had more time to plan this time around she was able to raise $300,000 within six months to earn name recognition because of the congressional run. 

“As somebody in a gerrymandered district and a first-time candidate to raise that much, it’s really good… I learned that I had that support base, when I started my city council race I had people that have already volunteered and put their yard signs up for me,” Castle said. 

Maintaining a work-life balance is very important to her. She uses time in between high school subbing to work on campaigning and stressed the importance of keeping an intentional schedule. 

“This job at Walnut Hills was kind of the perfect thing, I imagined myself still subbing for CPS because I can control my schedule…and that’s the beauty of being a substitute,” Castle said. 

Castle described city council as a “field race,” in which there are nine total positions that all candidates are competing for. For this election, voters will not see the party designation for each candidate, which is unusual. 

The nine council people work in different committees to pass legislation and work on initiatives to better the city. They work together among themselves, the mayor and the city manager to achieve this. 

“Cincinnati has been a joke for many, in that we’re behind the times… I want to do things to catch up with other cities,” Castle said. “Another thing is the tax abatement issue, the city gives tax breaks to projects. It’s been case by case and it shouldn’t have to be, you can set a standard and streamline it so developers know what to expect.” 

If elected, Castle hopes to prioritize affordable housing by investing in neighborhoods. In terms of education, Castle wants to ensure that CPS has a good champion and advocate working with them. 

“Families leave or stay [in neighborhoods] because of schools, we need to make sure our schools are succeeding, and that kids have the opportunity and skills to get careers, not jobs, careers,” Castle said. 

Throughout the campaign, a major setback she faced was not getting the Democratic endorsement. This means Castle’s name won’t be listed under the Democratic candidates on the information sheet given to voters before election day. 

“I had to make an intentional choice to keep going, but to be positive, and have fun with it because there were things we could do this time that I couldn’t do last time when I ran for Congress,” Castle said. “I had to make that choice to get over feeling hurt, get over feeling mad, keep going and just do the best I could.” 

Castle’s family, parents, parents-in-law and church community have all been supportive and proud of her decision to run for Congress which means a lot to her. Senator Brown and his team have also been very supportive. 

“He understands that you support all your candidates in every corner of the state, no matter how hard their race is because that’s how you grow leaders,” Castle said. “That’s how you change and not a lot of [politicians] see that, they just support people that are in races that are competitive but that’s not how you grow as a party. That’s not how you make change. You have to support leaders everywhere.”

Looking forward, if she gets elected, city council will take up the majority of Castle’s time. Although it’s set up to be part-time, she believes that to really be effective you should be giving full time to the job. She still hopes to sub at WHHS occasionally but will prioritize her time to city council. 

“I love being at Walnut Hills. It’s just a positive place that I find joy and meaning in and I’d love to continue being a part of this.” Castle said. 

WHHS staff and SENIORS who are 18 years old on or before Nov. 2 and meet all other voter eligibility qualifications should register to vote by Oct. 5. Visit or register in person with the Ohio or a local election office.