Avon resident diving into congressional campaign

Ken Harbaugh (left), with members of Team Rubicon, responding to a typhoon in the Philippines. (Photo, Kirk Jackson)

By Nicole Hennessy

Avon – When Ken Harbaugh decided to run against U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) for a seat in Ohio’s 7th district earlier this month, he said, “It was about patriotism.”

Like many, the Avon resident had become concerned as he’d “experienced” the past presidential election, one he says brought out the worst in our politics. So, for Harbaugh, this bid for congress is a continuation of a lifelong effort to serve his county. He grew up in a military family and then served in the U.S. Navy for nine years himself, leading reconnaissance missions in North Korea and the Middle East.

Harbaugh acknowledges that a Democrat running in a typically Republican district will be a battle, but he says he hopes voters will look beyond the letter after candidates’ names and focus on issues like the importance of expanding infrastructure to a 21st-century electrical grid, investing in green energy, veterans and senior pension/benefits issues, “Or, most of all, re-investing in our educational infrastructure.”

Of course, there is also the issue of the opiate epidemic, which Harbaugh sees in symptoms like record deaths and domestic violence, one side effect, he explained, that at the root of which, “is poverty and drugs.”

Reflecting on healthcare in general, as well as his own daughter’s illness that required four surgeries by the time she was 4 years old, he says there are millions of families nationwide who won’t be as lucky as his was, and to him, for the richest country in the world, this should be unacceptable.

Harbaugh does believe that the two parties can come together, even to discuss some of the most divisive social issues (including health care) that tend to divide Democrats and the GOP.

“It’s not a matter of being comfortable; it’s a matter of being honest and brave,” said Harbaugh of addressing tense issues.

“Bravery is a rare commodity in our politics today.”

Note: Gibbs could not be reached for comment.





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