Driven to affect change in Washington, D.C. on behalf of "ordinary folks," employment attorney Betsy Rader (D) has announced her bid for Congress for Ohio's 14th District, currently held by incumbent Rep. David Joyce (R, Ohio-14).
The mid-term election is in November 2018.
Rader, of Russell Township, brings 30 years of legal experience to the table, much of it as senior counsel for the Cleveland Clinic. She has advocated for workers' and children's rights throughout her career.
"Like so many Americans, I've been frustrated with what's been going on in Washington," Rader said April 27. "It seems as if ordinary folks don't have a voice in Congress any more."
Rader previously served as senior counsel at the Cleveland Clinic (employment and contract law). She has served as director of CASA for KIDS of Geauga County, where she represented abused and neglected children in court.
But it was her interest in seeing affordable health care come to fruition that inspired her to run for the U.S. House seat.
"I care about health care greatly," Rader said. "I was shocked to learn there was no better plan waiting in the wings to cover 20 million people after the planned repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Now we see a budget that benefits the wealthiest at the expense of the rest of us. I just decided it was time to run."
If elected to Capitol Hill, Rader said she will work to defend the "very valuable resource" of the Great Lakes -- a region that is looking at a more than $300 million cut in President Donald Trump's budget proposal. Incumbent Rep. David Joyce has also supported initiatives that protect the Great Lakes, sponsoring several pieces of legislation in recent years to protect the region.
"Clearly for this district, it's the Great Lakes, protecting the very valuable resource that we have," Rader said. "Everybody knows this is a fundamental resource --- but the budget cuts are so dramatic."
The opiode epidemic is an issue that affects all Ohioans, Rader said.
"We know that this addiction is a major problem in this district as it is in all of Ohio," Rader said. "We need to look at budget proposals that keep the ability to fund dependency and treatment programs -- that money has got to come from somewhere."
Rader says she has worked with businesses to help them grow and create jobs.
In addition to her time at the Cleveland Clinic, Rader said she worked for Medicare and Medicaid Services helping to design cost-effective, high quality care for kidney dialysis patients.
She has been active in the community, serving as a vice president of Cleveland Legal Aid and previously serving on the Board of Geauga County United Way. She founded a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to help at-risk children, now called HOPE for KIDS Geauga.
Rader has served on the Russell Zoning Commission and the Citizens Park Commission.
She ran unsuccessfully for a judgeship in Geauga County 12 years ago and has never held elected office.
And she doesn't claim to be a politician.
"I'm not a politician," she said. "I believe the people in this district will vote for the person who cares about them ... and can get the job done."
A lifelong Ohioan, Rader grew up in Coshocton and attended The Ohio State University, where she graduated at the top of her class. With help of night jobs and scholarships, she attended Yale Law School.
"I grew up poor and was raised by a single divorced mom who struggled to make ends meet," Rader said. "We lived on about $500 per month. I know firsthand the challenges too many Ohioans face. I went to law school to empower those without a voice, and that's why I advocate for employees' rights at my law firm."
Rader has been married for 31 years to her husband, Dave. They live in an 1847 farmhouse in Russell Township where they raised three children.
"We need a Congress that can work together to focus on what really matters -- good-paying jobs, affordable healthcare and quality educational opportunities," Rader continued. "Now is the time to put our country back on track and start getting things done. I'm ready to be a strong voice for Northeast Ohio families."
The 14th Congressional District includes Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties, as well as portions of Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage and Trumbull counties.
Visit www.betsyraderforcongress.com for more information.