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Meet John

John Russell is a farmer and small-business owner in Galena, Ohio. For the last five years, John has worked in the 12th District farming produce and grinding tree stumps, while also fighting as a political activist. He is running for Congress because he believes that we have a duty to deliver on our national promise that, through hard work, we can provide for ourselves and our families. And we need to start by electing officials who understand what that promise really means.

John grew up in Wellsville, Ohio. It’s a small, working-class town in the Ohio Valley that’s home to about 3,500 people. In its prime, Wellsville was a picture of middle-class stability; it was home to businesses and factories that manufactured and shipped pottery to the rest of the world. But that was nearly 50 years ago—the town John grew up in was one whose identity was built on labor but had nowhere to work. Jobs and opportunity dried up. Families struggled to keep their place in the middle class. Opiate addiction crept in and claimed the lives of childhood friends. But in the midst of that pain and hardship, John learned the importance of fighting for his community.

It started with hard work. John had always had an interest in agriculture: it took him from 4-H meeting to 4-H meeting, from county fair to county fair. Eventually, it took him to Cornell, where he earned a degree in Agricultural Sciences. While studying at Cornell, John spent time further developing his passion for community engagement and forming a deep understanding of what good policy looks like. This led him to taking a job in the New York State legislature, before the call for home pulled him back to Ohio, where he worked on the campaigns of Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland.

After those campaigns finished, John moved to Galena to start his business and continued to stay active in local politics. In 2016, John ran for State Representative in Ohio’s 68th district, one that hasn’t elected a Democrat in more than 50 years. Despite the partisan disadvantage in the district, John was able to secure grassroots support. His campaign knocked on more than 30,000 doors across the district, which represented more face-to-face voter contact than every other State Representative race in Ohio, save one. But what really stood out on John’s campaign was his faith in honest and genuine conversations: this belief helped John to outperform the top of the Democratic ticket in rural communities all across the district.

Following the election, John continued to build on his grassroots organizing in Delaware County by turning his attention to fighting against bad partisan policy. When Congressional Republicans announced their intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act, John and a group of local activists started a petition aimed at convincing their Congressman, Pat Tiberi, to hold a town hall to meet with his constituents. When Tiberi refused, the group went ahead and hosted their own town hall: more than one thousand citizens attended, and the event helped to further drive the national discussion over health care rights.

Now, John is running for the 12th Congressional District. He is running because he believes in the simple truth that, as the working class goes, so goes the country. Having grown up in Wellsville, and having worked as a farmer and small-business owner, he has seen firsthand the importance of economic opportunity for everyone and especially those on the other side of power. John is running because our citizens need congressional representatives who care about the way things are, not just about how things look when people are watching.

Meet John

I'm running to represent Ohio's 12th district in Congress because I believe in the simple truth that, as working families go, so goes the country.

As a farmer, small-business owner and native of rural Ohio, I've seen firsthand the importance of economic opportunity for everyone - especially those on the other side of power.

If we want to deliver on our national promise that hard work will pay off, we have to start by electing representatives who understand what that promise really means.

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