I reached out to filed candidates in the state of Ohio last week, well in advance of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Looking back on their responses as I sat to write these endorsements, it's striking to me how prophetic many of their words were. This is especially true of US House candidate Shawna Roberts, who replied:
I am a supporter of common-sense gun safety laws. I also support the 2nd amendment. This is not a contradiction, because as a nation we have always balanced personal freedoms with community responsibility.
As with all of our constitutional rights, we need to be careful to maintain the right, while protecting the community. Thomas Jefferson said, "My right to extend my arm ends at your nose." If our right to guns causes other Americans to lose their right to life, we need to examine the laws with an eye to bringing that right back into balance.
Ms. Roberts is, like many of the candidates I've profiled here, a political newcomer. A Chicago native, she went to college in California but always dreamed of living in the country. She and her husband made this a reality in 2002 when they moved their beekeeping company to Belmont County. After the recession, her husband found work as a truck driver and Shawna worked part time in the fast food industry while raising their five children. On her campaign website, she lays out why she's a candidate:
Every day, people ask me why I decided to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. This is a fair question. I am not one the usual suspects. I am not wealthy. Not influential. Not powerful. I am like you. I am a middle-aged mother who lives in a house in the country three miles from the nearest paved road. I have spent the last twenty years raising my five children and working part-time. I’m a Nobody from Nowhere, and Nobodies don’t usually run for Congress, in our country. And that's been one of our biggest problems, because the self-appointed Somebodies in our current government simply don't understand what we need to improve the lives of the ordinary people who live, work, and raise their families in our communities. I'm Shawna Roberts, and I'm like you.
Roberts' platform - especially when it comes to firearms - is well suited to her district, and would uphold the values of rural Ohio while providing needed improvement over Mr. Johnson's rejection of even the most modest reforms. We applaud Ms. Robert's decision to throw her hat into the ring, and endorse her both in the May 8 Democratic primary and the November 6 general election.
You can follow this race and find information on how to help Ms. Roberts' campaign HERE.