My name is Joanie Sweeny, and I’m a 25-year Army veteran running for state representative in Ohio House District 7. This district is the southwest suburbs of Cuyahoga County, including Strongsville, North Royalton, Olmsted Falls, Olmsted Township, and Berea, where I live with my husband Mark.
I was always taught that when you see something wrong, you speak up and do what you can to make it right. When I was considering joining this race, I saw so much wrong in Ohio’s government — gerrymandered districts, extreme policies, complacent elected officials who do not represent their constituents and many placing their self-interest over building a better future. Ohioans are looking for leadership, especially during the crises we’re now facing. And I knew that with my background, I was ready to provide that leadership.
My 25 years of military service brought me all around the world, from Germany to Korea and all over the United States. I served in the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. As a logistics officer, I routinely dealt with crisis management and complex problem-solving. I worked with people of all ages, personalities, and cultures, gaining valuable experience while building coalitions to accomplish difficult missions. I learned the value of diversity, the potential of our young people, and the meaning of public service. My sense of duty first brought me to the Army; now, I hope it will bring me to the State House.
When we began this campaign, we weren’t on a lot of people’s radar. We are up against a longtime Republican incumbent with money in the bank. Where others saw difficulty, we saw opportunity. This is a swing district, carried by Sherrod Brown in 2018, where at least three in five likely voters this year will be Democrats and Independents. Moreover, District 7 is the face of the 2020 election: suburban voters who are concerned about the pandemic, the economy and systemic racism; who are better informed and more active than in the past.
We knew this would be close, and we’ve been running an intensive grassroots campaign to capitalize on the opportunity. All the hard work and faith have begun to pay off. The Ohio House Democratic Caucus moved our race up to a “Red-to-Blue” campaign, meaning we have a real shot to flip our seat blue. We continue to get more and more endorsements, volunteers, and campaign donations. And we keep hearing, over and over, District 7 voters are tired of complacent Republican representation and ready for change. They want accessible, guiding leadership to make that change happen.
We need your help to turn that momentum into victory, and enact the changes that will make that victory count — from investing in public education and healthcare, to rebuilding our economy with good-paying jobs, to ending corruption and gerrymandering. Please follow us on social media at @JoanieForOhio, and visit joanieforohio.com/join to see how you can join our mission to build a better future for all Ohioans.
Joanie Sweeny is the 2020 Democratic candidate for State Representative in Ohio House District 7.