The Democratic primary for Ohio’s 12th Congressional seat pits Jenny Bell against Alaina Shearer. The winner will face a Republican candidate in November.
Here are profiles of each Democratic candidate, in alphabetical order.
“I am a nurse practitioner that believes that we can do better with health care, jobs, and housing through compassion, courage, and true democracy in Ohio’s 12th District,” Bell states on her website. “I will not be beholden to a political party, corporation, lobby, or PAC, because I only accept donations from individuals. I became a nurse in order to advocate for patients and others in need. The best way for me to help today, is to fix the health care system. I am a worker, not a politician, not a business owner. Ohioans need a real representative in Washington.”
“Running for Congress is not something I am doing on a whim. It has been a long time coming,” Bell told The Gazette in an email.
“I am continuing my fight for the ‘regular’ people of Ohio,” Bell writes. “I want to be the voice of real, working people who struggle to pay their bills because of jobs that do not pay living wages, because of health care costs that are artificially inflated, because of predatory lenders who make sure that families will never get out of debt. We do not need any more politicians who speak well and tell you what you want to hear. We do not need any more business people who are only concerned with their financial bottom line. We do not need any more egos that are only concerned with their personal brands. We need real hardworking representatives. This is why I am running for Congress.”
Bell said her main issues are affordable health care, affordable housing, and good-paying jobs.
“The COVID-19 situation is a perfect example why universal healthcare needs to happen now,” Bell told The Gazette. “Even the Trump administration admitted this week that one of the issues with fighting this epidemic is the lack of affordable healthcare. Americans cannot afford to go to the doctor, so the Trump administration is considering using national disaster program money to pay for COVID-19 testing, doctor visits, and treatment. They are rightly concerned that the cost of getting care is a deterrent for sick Americans because Americans defer treatment all the time. Which, in the end, costs way more money than providing covered preventative services that stop disease, chronic conditions, and cancer before they start.
“Think of it this way,” Bell continued. “Getting a $30 oil change for your car every three months prevents you from having to buy a whole new $3,000 engine every year. If we provide universal care for all people so that when anyone gets sick, they can get care immediately, we can prevent having to pay giant hospital bills when the disease spreads through the body and to others. This is evidence-based, proven, and smart. We can do this if we are brave and stand up to insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and large hospital conglomerates that want to keep the status quo so they can continue to rake in trillions of dollars.”
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/JENNYBELL2020/.
Shearer describes herself on her website as “a mom, a business owner, and a leader in the digital industry who has led a national women’s movement. Today, she is ready to join her neighbors to reclaim their power by flipping District 12. As a Congresswoman, she’ll promise to hold town hall meetings and to act quickly on the urgent issues we are all facing.”
A former radio journalist on WTVN and WNCI, in 2016 Shearer founded Together Digital, a 2,000-member national women’s association for women in tech and digital professions.
“Never in my life have I ever shied away from a challenge,” Shearer is quoted as saying on her site. “After losing my father to cancer, after becoming a single mother, and now after building a women’s movement that has changed thousands of lives – I am ready to bring my spirit and my passion for change to Washington, D.C. in order to improve the lives of Ohioans.”
Shearer’s major issues she is focusing on include health care, women’s rights, paid leave for working families, small business protections, opioid treatment and prevention, worker’s rights, gun safety, civil liberties, climate change and reproductive rights. Shearer was endorsed by progressive organizations like the Franklin County Democratic Party.
With regards to health care, “The first priority must be stabilizing and restoring the Affordable Care Act in order to maintain coverage for those with preexisting conditions, and to ensure that everyone has the choice to be covered under a public option,” Shearer’s site states. “No American should ever have to go bankrupt or die because of the cost of healthcare. Alaina supports an immediate action to create an income-based cap on the amount any individual or family should pay out of pocket on medical expenses, including prescriptions.”
Shearer’s father was a physician who never turned away patients who couldn’t pay.
Climate change is real and needs to be taken seriously, Shearer said. “We need to focus on creating new sources of renewable energy and lowering emissions harmful to the environment. Moving forward, we need to rebuild and repair infrastructure with climate change in mind. This will create new, much needed jobs in Ohio.”
Shearer’s site states, “True representation in Washington isn’t something we should hope for, it’s something we should expect. Our elected representatives should fear us, not the other way around. Today, District 12’s congressman sits on his Gerrymandered seat ignoring our needs.”
“This district deserves a true representative — someone who is truly listening,” Shearer said. “It’s the least we can expect while faced with so many pressing issues affecting our families, our lives and our nation.”
Ohio’s 12th Congressional District comprises Delaware County, Morrow County, and Licking County, along with parts of Franklin, Marion, Muskingum, and Richland counties. The district is currently represented by incumbent Troy Balderson (R), Zanesville, who was elected to his first full term in Congress in November 2018. Balderson finished out former Rep. Pat Tiberi’s remaining term, which ended Dec. 31, 2018. Tiberi resigned from his congressional seat in January to accept a position as the new head of the Ohio Business Roundtable.
Balderson is facing Tim Day in the GOP primary, with the winner facing the Democratic candidate in the November election.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.