For Immediate Release

December 15, 2016

The Plains, OH – After serving eight years as the 94th District’s representative in the Ohio House, Debbie Phillips will start a new career as Rural Action’s Development Director this January. Rural Action is a regional community development organization with an 18 county footprint working with members and community leaders on a range of quality of life, environmental, and economic projects across Appalachian Ohio.

“We couldn’t be more pleased that Debbie wants to work with us, she has been a friend to so many people of all backgrounds across southeast Ohio. In this role, she will continue positively impacting the lives of families in our region” said Rural Action CEO Michelle Decker. We’ve known and admired her passion for fairness and opportunity for a long time.”

Over the last year, Rural Action has engaged over 13,000 people through its programs. Ms. Phillips will help Rural Action take the many people who participate in Rural Action events and programs and turn them into supporters. “The most precious funding we get is from our members,” said Decker. “When our neighbors become our investors, we know we’re on the right path. They can drive what happens in their communities.”

Debbie Phillips has served four terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. Her current term will expire this month. As a House member, she served on the House Finance Committee, House Education Committee, House Agriculture & Rural Development Committee, the Joint Legislative Ethics Commission and the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. Prior to that, Debbie served the 4th Ward on the Athens City Council. She was also the founding Executive Director of the Ohio Fair Schools Campaign, which was hosted through Rural Action and worked to promote quality public education. Debbie is a graduate of Ohio University and lives in Albany with her husband Jim and their three children.

“I am so excited to be joining the team at Rural Action”, said Phillips. “I love the work of the organization and am delighted with the opportunity to help. I believe that many people share the vision of sustainable development in our region, and look forward to working with Rural Action to develop a stronger and broader base of support for this critically important work.”

“Even after 25 years of working in communities with our members, we still return to the basic idea that every person can make a difference,” said Decker. “Debbie will help us reach more people with that message.”

Rural Action is a member-based sustainable community development organization. Their mission is to foster social, economic, and environmental justice in Appalachian Ohio. Phillips will join 21 staff members across 5 offices in Athens, Perry, Morgan, and Tuscarawas counties. The organization also hosts a large National Service program, the Ohio Stream Restore Corps, with 26 AmeriCorps members. Learn more about Rural Action at You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


Alexandria Polanosky
Media and Communications Director
740-677-4047 ext. 140