Ohio’s sprawling 12th district was thrown together by the gerrymanderers in the state legislature from bits and pieces of various leftover areas— from the suburbs of Columbus, huge swathes of Appalachia and exurbs of Akron and Canton. They certainly didn’t care about creating a district with any common community interests, just one that would be reliably red. The district is represented in Washington by a dull backbencher, garden variety Republican Troy Balderson, who helped draw the district for himself when he was in the state Senate.
Today Blue America is proud to endorse a progressive Democrat, Jerrad Christian, challenging Balderson in this district the DCCC has long forgotten. It’s where Christian was born and grew up— so not one he’s forgetting. He’s working to rally working class Ohioans who have forgotten something else: the Democratic Party and why they and their parents and grandparents once loved the Democratic message.
“Universal healthcare,” Christian told me yesterday, “means everyone gets a shot at the medical care they need, no matter their bank account. That could be huge for people in our area who are struggling to get by or who don’t have easy access to doctors and hospitals… I often look at who is lobbying for or against a specific issue, and when I see that the majority of lobbying against universal healthcare is from hugely profitable corporations, I take note of it.”
He also noted that the pro-choice side didn’t just win in the district’s reliably blue Athens County but also in the 3 counties with the biggest number of voters, Licking, Fairfield and Delaware counties and even in more rural red counties like Muskingum and Tuscawas did a lot better than Democratic candidates have done in recent years. Christian is working to connect with voters who have drifted away from the Democratic Party, not by presenting himself as a Republican-lite candidate, but by reminding them of what the Democratic Party has once meant in the lives of their families. Yesterday, he contacted residents of the district about the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. Missed that one?
“Last week, a huge oil spill caused massive damage to our ocean ecosystem and Louisiana’s coastline,” he wrote, “and it merited barely a blip on the radar for the media. A pipeline leak pumped out over 1.1 million gallons of crude oil about 20 miles near the mouth of the Mississippi River. The company, a Texas-based oil company, has said almost nothing about the cause of the leak, remediation efforts, or plans to provide restitution and mitigate environmental harm. The firm did not attend briefings or release detailed public statements in the days immediately following the leak. This is what happens when we allow huge corporations to run rampant over our economy and pillage our natural resources without proper checks and balances. Meanwhile, federal regulations continue to be weakened and in many cases completely undone by a radical judiciary that has been stacked with political appointees by Republican presidents— who have only won a majority of the popular vote once in the past six presidential elections.”
Is this how we want America to work— or should I say, not work?
I learned the long-term and far-reaching impact of oil spills like this one, and others like the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, when I was an oceanographer in the U.S. Navy. It isn’t just the immediate wildlife or ecosystem that is harmed: environmental destruction like this harms the economy and adversely affects health and safety.
My opponent has never seen a tax cut for the wealthy and large corporations he didn’t rush to vote for, at the bidding of his corporate donors, no doubt. He is for “repealing burdensome regulations” that “make us less free,” but he is all for sweeping bans and criminal penalties on abortion. He is a phony— and I am in this because the people I grew up with in rural Ohio know a two-bit fraudster when they see one.
I stand for renewable energy because it is what we need for a sustainable, independent source of domestic energy but also because it is the morally right thing to do. We need to continue to invest in clean, renewable, and sustainable energy and to hold accountable corporate plunderers who think they can pollute our communities without consequence.
This is going to be one of the toughest races Blue America takes on this cycle. But that’s what we specialize in, races that have helped put people like AOC, Alan Grayson, Jamaal Bowman, Jamie Raskin, Ted Lieu, Pramila Jayapal into Congress… all former underdogs who everyone told us had no chance when we endorsed them. Please consider contributing to Jerrad Christian’s campaign here.
This is a race between a young father and veteran who represents the hope for our country’s future, and someone, career politician Troy Balderson, who represents the morass it’s fallen into.