SIDNEY — If you ask Janet Garrett why she is running against Congressman Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, to represent Ohio’s fourth district, she will tell you it’s so the children she taught, and all the country’s children, have a chance at a decent future.
“This campaign is a continuation of all the work, I’ve done all my life. … I joke that this is therapy for me because I am so concerned about the future, especially for the children I taught for all of those years,” Garrett said at a talk at the Sidney American Legion Wednesday.
Garrett, a Democrat from Lorain County, retired from teaching in June after 35 years. Her priorities for her campaign are to “promote our workers, protect our seniors and prepare our children.”
She wants to have trade deals that keep Americans working, and expand middle class jobs and wages, so that people who are working full time don’t have to live in poverty.
“We have to have education available for our young people so they can come out of college without crushing debt,” Garrett said. “When people get living wages, they can be independent and take care of their families and then they’re paying their taxes.”
The testing industry has taken over education, she said.
“What education should be about in my opinion is, creativity, problem solving and, above all, a love of learning,” she said. “Because the world is changing so fast now that if you don’t have a love of learning new things, it’s going to be very hard to keep your feet in the ever changing world. So we have to have a quality education system for our children.”
Garrett wants to expand social security and medicare, as well as invest in mental health and recovery care for drug addicts. She believes this is one of the best ways to curb the drug problem.
Garrett said she’s been a political activist her entire life and has worked as a volunteer many times to help people get elected.
She said when her part of Lorain County was gerrymandered into Jordan’s district she made a group called Jordan Watch that made it their business to keep track of his votes. She said they would go to his town hall meetings. The group was trying to clear the way for a candidate to run against him.
“You see I was never supposed to be the candidate, but in 2014 when the deadline for filing came and went and no one was going to stand up against him, I decided I had to file as a right-in candidate, and did so on the very last day possible,” Garrett said.
In the general election that year she got 33 percent of the vote, which she thought wasn’t too bad considering she was still teaching everyday, and people didn’t really know her name.
During this campaign she has been spending a day in every county learning about what the people in each area really needs. Earlier Wednesday, Garrett had a meet and greet at The Spot, and spoke to the government classes at Sidney High School. She stressed to the students that there is always another side to the issue. That is what democracy is all about.
She said she is looking for a small group of dedicated people to get her elected. She emphasized, she is not just looking to unseat Jordan, she wants to help the fourth district because as far as she can tell, Jordan hasn’t done much on a local or even district level.
Garrett holds both a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in special education from Kent State University. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer on the island of Ponape in Micronesia, teaching fifth- and sixth-graders in 1977-78. She has three grown daughters and lives with her husband, Michael Garrett, in Oberlin. Additional information can be found at janetgarrett.com.
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