Janet Garrett's Profile
Ohio 4th Congressional District
Janet Garrett is a schoolteacher and political activist from Oberlin, Ohio. She served in the Peace Corps, teaching in Micronesia and, she says, “learning what’s really important” in life. She returned to Oberlin, teaching elementary school and special education for 35 years, and serving as the president of her local union. She has three daughters and describes herself as “fired-up” about the dysfunction of American politics.
People’s House Project proudly endorses Janet as a candidate meeting our principles for election to Congress. She:
- Has first-person experience with the economic crisis
- Directly represents America’s diverse working class
- Is more connected to her community than to elites
- Will not make a good villain for the other side to campaign against
- Holds Progressive economic priorities central to her campaign
We believe electing Janet Garrett to the House of Representatives will be a big step toward returning civility to Washington
Every place I go, no matter what party I talk to, everyone agrees that Washington is broken. It’s millionaires serving billionaires and ignoring the issues of ordinary people.
I’m running against Jim Jordan, who wants to be Speaker of the House and who is part of the problem. I met him in 2012 when our part of the Ohio was gerrymandered into his district. I grew up here in Oberlin, and he came to debate. He shamelessly recited his far right-wing rhetoric and I was horrified. I walked up to him and said I was uncomfortable with his kind of representation. He smirked at me and said why is that? I said I’m a woman and a teacher and a member of the middle class, and you seem to stand against all of that. He didn’t care about what I was saying. He just smirked at me. I walked out of that room knowing that we had to do something about Jim Jordan. I’ve been working against him ever since.
I formed a group called The Jordan Watch. We went to events and wrote letters to the editor and made a nuisance of ourselves. In 2014, when no one stepped up to run against him, people twisted my arm to run. I became a write-in candidate for the primary, I was teaching full time and was really just a protest candidate to make sure someone was on the ballot.
For the last four years, I’ve been going around the district, meeting with different groups and asking what kind of representative people want. We’ve got a significant opioid problem in the district, and they want more done on that. Healthcare is another huge problem. A lot of the rural hospitals are staying afloat because of the Medicaid expansion. Jordan wants to get rid of that and the hospitals are terrified they’re going to have to shut their doors. People are working sometimes three jobs just to get by. People need an opportunity to get jobs that pay a living wage so they can have one job and go home and take care of their children.
In my four years on the campaign trail, I’ve seen a sea change in people’s attitudes. This year, we have a real campaign. I’ve got paid staff, a fantastic team, and hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers. People are more active than they’ve ever been. I’ve been all over the district and there are activist groups that did not exist before 2016. Everywhere I go, I ask who hasn’t been politically active before, and hands always go up. People are donating to my campaign who say they’ve never given money before. Teachers, who know how education in this country is just in shambles, are leading the way.
I’m running in Ohio’s 4th District. Jim Jordan is running for Speaker of the House. He’s running around the country trying to promote himself. He’s not paying any attention to what’s going on in the district. That’s why he’s vulnerable.
Last Sunday I was canvasing. I ran into a man and asked him if he’d vote for me. I told him I was a Democrat, and he said he was a Republican. He asked who I was running against and I said Jim Jordan. He said, “You’ve got my vote. I hate that guy.
I went to 12 county fairs this year. People would come in and say they were former Republicans and they’re not going to vote Republican anymore because they can’t stand what’s going on in the party. They want solutions to problems, and they’re not getting those from Washington, or from Jim Jordan.