Councilperson Tristan Rader
Councilperson Tristan Rader

I am a Northeast Ohio native and proud to call Lakewood my home.

Born in Cleveland, I spent my early years in Ohio City. Then grew up in Lorain. After High School, I started working full-time and went to Lorain County Community College at night. I earned two associate’s degrees and went on to study at Kent State, earned my Masters of Public Administration from Cleveland State and Certificate in Renewable Energy Development from Yale Center for Business and the Environment.
In 2009 I traveled to East Africa for the first time. While there, I found that aid is abundant, but often not the kind that’s needed. Afterward, I started a nonprofit to help people advocate their communities’ own priorities, and spent six months providing communications and business training in Uganda.

Upon my return, 2012 to 2016, I worked for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank in outreach. While there, I pioneered new methods and went from assisting a few hundred people per month to thousands. Through my work at the Food Bank, I learned that many here in Northeast Ohio also feel shut out and powerless to change their situation.

I was inspired when Senator Bernie Sanders announced his campaign for president and immediately put my experiences to work in grassroots organizing. As local field director, I’m proud that Lakewood was very supportive. After the primary ended, our team reorganized as the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, and Lakewood was a natural location for our office. As operations director during CCPC’s first year, I helped membership grow to nearly 3,000.

In addition to my work at the Food Bank, I have founded two startups, Creative Media Productions, and Ohio Cleaning. I served as a deputy state director for during the 2016 election. I have also volunteered for local programs, including The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program. I currently serve as the Ohio Program Director at Solar United Neighbors and help people go solar and realize the benefits of clean, renewable solar energy for their own homes.

My amazing wife, Caitlin, and I make our home just a short walk from downtown Lakewood.