On our first date, both of our hands were shaking as we reached for the coffee creamer.

As per usual when meeting any new guy, I chose a low key one-hour coffee shop date. What if he was not as described? What if it was a total flop? Meeting for only one hour gives you an easy out just in case. And mine, my precious six-year-old son, was waiting at my friend Margaret’s house. So I could escape if need be at any time.

But this date was unlike any other. I was nervous! So incredibly nervous that my hands (and his) were actually shaking. Instantly, the sparks flew. We were immediately engrossed in conversation, learning about one another’s quirks and passions and discovering that we had both lived in Texas at one point. As it turned out, I had found my dream cowboy right here in Ohio. The hour turned into two and we both left absolutely smitten.

I had finally met my match and my only question to him was, “What in the hell took you so long?” to which in classic Seth fashion he answered, “I wasn’t ready for you yet.”

I am writing about Seth today for a few reasons.

First of all, today is his birthday. And this email is a total surprise to him and will bring me great joy when he discovers it in his inbox. I’ll get to see that smile on his face, and maybe even a few dimples under that fuzzy beard.

Secondly, it’s incredibly important for all of you to know that without Seth, I wouldn’t be able to become the first woman to ever represent Ohio’s 12th Congressional District.

When I first told Seth a friend was strongly suggesting I run for Congress his immediate reaction was not what you would expect a husband to say. Without any hesitation Seth said, “Oh hell yeah, and if you don’t – I will!”

And he was serious.

On a few occasions I woke up with cold feet. My entire being was overwhelmed with anxiety and fear of what a Congressional run would mean for our family, for our businesses, for my own psyche.

Ultimately it’s the personal attacks I fear the most. I hate hate in any fashion, I don’t participate in it, and I am not looking forward to subjecting myself and my family to the negative attacks from Internet trolls and the opposition. Already we’ve heard vicious and untrue rumors about us being passed around within our own party’s circles. It’s astonishing really, but to be expected. There are a lot of people who do not want us to win this race.

But that fear, as Seth and the kids reminded me, was secondary to the goal. Restoring our own faith in our government and in our democracy is paramount to all else. As a family we feel this is our patriotic duty and if there’s a shot (and there is) that we can win – who would we be if we didn’t at least try? He reminds me every day to set fear aside and to run because we have to do this for our country. Ego-driven fears about what people will say have no place here.

Our country is not our country right now; I don’t recognize my own neighbors and friends who have been overcome with these intense storylines about hoaxes and fake news. I’m a heartbroken American, and I want my country back. I also want our country to meet its full potential. The next several years are critical to setting course on a path that will define our generation. And we must move forward, as fast as we can to make up for the years we have lost.
Throughout these first six months of this race, Seth has been there in every way possible. From watching the kids every night when I was out campaigning to now helping during the day as we try to both work from home.

The lesson in this for me, and hopefully for you, my amazing supporter, is that men are the equalizing force necessary for women to gain everything we need: equal pay, equal opportunity and equal responsibilities at home.

Men are the lynchpin. We are in this together.

A guy like Seth is a rarity. But what we both love so much about our story and why we share it publicly is that perhaps our relationship and home balance will serve as inspiration for other men, and inspire more women to expect more from their partners.

Lifting a woman up to her highest heights doesn’t make you any less of a man. Neither does washing the dishes, sorting the laundry or sweeping the floor. In fact, it is my opinion that there is truly nothing more attractive than a man who deeply and profoundly respects the women in his life. So let’s all wish Seth the happiest of birthdays, and let’s all stay calm and carry on.

And on November 3rd, when we flip a Congressional District and take one huge step toward winning our country back, we will owe that victory to our entire team – each and every one of you – but most of all, we will owe that to the man I am lucky enough to have met on an Internet date eight years ago – Seth Gray…

The best guy a future Congresswoman could ever dream of having by her side.

Want to meet Seth and hear some of his amazing music? We would love to have you Saturday night at 8:30 PM. Join us for a virtual fundraiser and invite your friends. We need each and every one you. RSVP here.

Thank you all so much for your support. Stay safe and healthy, and I’ll see you soon.

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