Editor's note: This story is featured in the Nov. 2 print edition of CityBeat.
In October, CityBeat sent questions to pairs of candidates in several key local and state elections.
Candidates in each race received the same series of questions, the same instructions for completing and returning their answers, and the same deadlines for publication. CityBeat began with known campaign or employment email addresses and followed up with private social media messages, phone calls and/or texts, depending on what was available.
Responses from the candidates are below and are in their own words (answers may have been lightly condensed for space). Not all candidates replied to CityBeat’s requests.
Republican D.J. Swearingen is running for reelection as the incumbent U.S. representative for Ohio’s 89th congressional district and has held the position since 2019. Challenging him is Democrat and University of Cincinnati alum Jim Obergefell — best known as the lead plaintiff in the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
D. J. Swearingen - swearingenforohio.comCityBeat reached out to Swearingen multiple times and did not receive a response by press time.
Jim Obergefell - obergefellforohio.comWhat is the foremost issue affecting Ohio?
In Ohio, and across the nation, we are seeing rights being taken away from those most vulnerable in our communities. Women are being stripped of their right to make decisions about their own body. Our LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters are being attacked. We must protect rights and our democracy, strengthen voting rights and improve access, and defend our public school system and our teachers.
What will you do differently or better than your opponent?
I’m a fighter, and I’ve proven that when I see something that needs fixed or changed, I get to work to get things done. I do what’s right, while my opponent focuses on partisan politics, leaving him unable to positively represent the people of Ohio House District 89. I’m ready to take the job on and make things better for my constituents.
In what specific ways will you affirm and support LGBTQIA+ residents within your district and throughout Ohio?
LGBTQIA+ residents need a champion in Columbus more than ever. As we see increased attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community, especially against the transgender community, it’s critical that they have someone standing up against discrimination at every turn. In my fight for marriage equality, I was part of affirming rights to millions of Americans nationwide. As State Rep., I will continue to fight for the LGBTQIA+ community.
What do you believe is the state’s role in individual healthcare decisions and access?
We must guarantee access to quality affordable healthcare for every Ohioan. That means expanding Medicare, lowering prescription drug prices, implementing transparency in medical care costs, and more to ensure that no Ohioan must choose between keeping the lights on or taking care of their health. The government has no place dictating the healthcare decisions any person makes, and we must protect Ohioans’ right to make their healthcare decisions.
What is the first item on your to-do list if you were to take office?
One of my first acts if I were to take office is to re-establish the Lake Erie caucus to keep the lake healthy while squeezing out every drop of economic opportunity. A strong middle class means a strong Ohio, and we have to use the resources around us, including the 127.6 trillion gallons of untapped potential on our north shore. It’s time we take advantage of it.