My name is Alaina Shearer, and I’m running to win Ohio’s 12th Congressional District. I’m running for a million reasons. The first 700,000 are the people of District 12.

All of us, no matter our income, no matter our place in life or our standing, need true representation in Washington and a representative who we can trust to uphold the values of this District. These values reflect my own. They are American values at their finest because here – in Ohio’s 12th District – we are in the heart of America, and we all represent this country and ultimately reflect what we all face on a national level.  

Our District is rich in its American history.

In fact, I live in one of the first homes in Delaware County. Our land in Liberty Township was settled by a Revolutionary War soldier who received this plot as a reward for his exemplary service from President John Adams. It’s easy to imagine why he and his wife chose this exact spot. We’re just far enough away from the river that there is next to no chance of a flood, and we’re on a hill which would have provided natural warmth in the winter and preserved cool air in the summer, and the land is breathtaking with rolling hills just beyond the fields. In one of those fields are gravestones so old we can barely make them out. One of these headstones belongs to a child, a sobering reminder of the toll our ancestors took to give us what we have today.

What we have today is a country seen as a beacon of hope for others across the world. This truly is a grand experiment, as they say, and up until this point, we have always overcome our greatest challenges. But today, while we face more challenges than we can count, we stand totally divided thanks to the 2.5+ hours a day we are each spending on social media. Each of us has our own unique feed tailored to our likes and interests, and as a result, many of us believe, without a doubt, that anyone who stands on the other side of an issue is dead wrong or deeply disturbed.

In the meantime, our nation is facing issues we can no longer afford to ignore – rising healthcare costs, the fact that income inequality has reached its highest point in 50 years, a rapidly changing tech-focused economy that stands to eliminate millions of jobs in the next decade alone. Then there are issues like safe schools and immigration. The list goes on, and it is a daunting one.

Sadly the real issues we face have become “issues” in our relationships with friends, neighbors and even family members.

Bottom line: we can’t talk about anything. My District is no exception. Rather than engaging in constructive dialogue, we all avoid “politics” like the plague. Instead, there is an awkward silence and discomfort in almost every public setting. You can feel the divide in the air in our restaurants, at the grocery check out line, at the library, at the kids’ soccer games, and even in the park. And in the meantime, we stare at our screens where the conversation is raging.

But here’s the good news – this is not really who we are. 

When I look at my District and step away from the news and the social feeds, I see us. I see Ohioans just trying to make it all work. I see a community vibrant with people from every possible background. And I see that we need each other. The current climate is uncomfortable for us because we aren’t like New Yorkers or big city people. We talk, we hug, we listen. We appreciate one another, and we respect one another. We love more than we hate.

I know this because I was born and raised right in Delaware, the heart of our District, and my father was raised by my grandmother just south of Worthington. I spent high school and college in Athens, not far from Zanesville. This is my home, and these are my people – and this is not us.

The one thing we can’t afford to do is to play into partisan politics. There is far too much at stake. As a start-up business owner who specializes in bringing people together, I can tell you this with certainty – we must stay focused on the future and how we will get there and what it will look like.

Here’s what we should be talking about at the dinner tables, at the library, and the parks: How can we ensure our small businesses be able to compete with Amazon? How long will our farmers be able to survive this trade war? How can we protect worker’s rights well into the future? How can we send our kids to school and not worry about their safety? How will we create the jobs of the future today and right here in our own region? How can we improve our education system?

The solutions are within us all, but we have to start talking about them and moving forward to bring them to reality.

Over the past three years, I dedicated my life and all of my financial resources into building a business that many people thought wasn’t possible. I found a way to bring women together to lift one another up and out of the daily situations we face at work and home. The organization is now nearly 2,000 members strong in over twenty cities nationwide. I built Together Digital because it was needed and because it solves an acute problem and issue.

I have proven time and time again throughout my life and my career that, against all obstacles, I can find a solution. This is not to say I haven’t made mistakes – I have. Many of them I regret. But what counts is how we react to those mistakes. Do we lay down and give up, or do we stand up and fight?

While I’ve been busy building a national network that has changed thousands of women’s lives for the better, my opponent Troy Balderson has not sponsored or co-sponsored a single bill during his first term as a Congressman. Instead of standing up and fighting is lying down, waiting for someone else to fix the problems we face or to tell him how to vote and virtually ghosting us until he is campaigning again. 

I am running for the United States House of Representatives in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District to move us forward into the future. And I am running because we should not hope for fair representation in Washington. We should expect fair representation. And I intend to deliver that to us. I’m doing this for my children, in honor of my grandparents, and, most of all – for each and every one of you.

I’m no politician, and I never thought I would become one and there’s no doubt, this will be the greatest challenge of my life – but it’s time for each and every one of us to stand up and fight for what we believe in and I’m honored to pick up this torch of those who have come before me.

Will you join me? 

During this campaign, my first order of business is to start a conversation. We’re going to put our screens down, and we’re going to talk. I want to hear from all of you. What are you experiencing? What is the most urgent issue you believe we need to address? How do you think these issues should be solved? Over the next few weeks, we will be announcing a series of coffee dates with me and you. I’ll be all over the District, and I can’t wait. Join our email list to be the first to find out about a coffee date near you. In the meantime, follow me on social and join our Facebook group.

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