We the People, for a Change

Tears welled up in my eyes as I pleaded with the voice mailbox at Senator Rob Portman's Washington D.C. office. With no town halls to express my views and full mailboxes at his Ohio offices, I'd finally connected. I poured out my soul, “Please don't take away the healthcare of We the People of Ohio. Every single one of us deserves access to affordable, quality healthcare. Every. Single. One."  I also told Senator Portman's voicemail that a senate bill designed to reduce the taxes of the ultra-wealthy was no reason to throw the health concerns of We the People under the bus. The Graham-Cassidy bill, like its recent brothers BCRA, AHCA, and Skinny Repeal, would remove patients from Medicaid, cause those of us with pre-existing illness to suffer astronomical insurance premium increases, and likely cause a return of lifetime insurance reimbursement caps, all of which put working Americans at risk of bankruptcy for seeking necessary medical care. If we think Governor Kasich's stranglehold on local finances hurts as he builds up the Ohio rainy day fund, We the Taxpayers haven't seen anything yet as insufficiently funded Federal block grants cause States (and ultimately their taxpayers) to scramble to pay the bills.   Continue reading

The History of My Write-In Campaign in 2016

My 2016 Write-In Campaign: After the results of the 2016 primary election were published, progressives and moderates of Ohio Congressional District 2 were enraged! Once again, the obstructionist Tea Party incumbent Brad Wenstrup faced the "impostor Democrat" Pike County truck driver William R. Smith in the November 2016 General Election. Once again, the citizens of southern Ohio had no voice in Washington to address their urgent needs, and no chance to change that situation with their votes. As a passionate supporter of progressive causes and taxpayer value and a long-time caregiver in the region, I voiced my concern. I waited for someone to step up to rectify the disenfranchisement. But no one did. I had been developing the USA Works!, the Interstate Bikeway System, and Appalachian Made regional branding ideas to stimulate economic development and employment in Southern Ohio (and the USA). I hoped to get one or more of these plans legislated but with the present Congress gridlocked by special interest-bought politicians, that wasn't going to happen any time soon. So, when fellow progressives and fiscal moderates suggested that if I wanted these ideas legislated I'd have to do it myself, I started talking with leaders and family about the daunting challenge of a write-in campaign. Apparently it was a David:Goliath scenario and I would only receive a tiny fraction of the vote. Still, I considered it a chance to reach out to the people of OH-2, educate voters about the entire Democratic slate of candidates, and sow the seeds for a successful 2018 campaign.

What Do You Want From Your Representative?

What Do You Want from Your Representative? As I listen to citizens throughout the eight counties of the Second Congressional District, I've been trying to discern what traits, talents, or track record each person values in their elected officials. What do they want and do I have what it takes to truly earn their confidence? At a Labor Day picnic at Coney Island, a plaster and cement worker union member declared, “I want someone who worked with their hands.” Realizing he meant that the best representative for workers who sweat, toil, and wear out their bodies is another worker, I looked down at my ruined hands and replied, “Yes, as a surgeon I may have worked on peoples' insides instead of a plaster restoration. But I can relate.” Continue reading

Working Together to Make America Healthy Again

The citizens of the USA deserve life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and access to affordable quality healthcare.  But in an era of elected officials turning their backs on the healthcare needs of their constituents, your congressmen have devised a tax cut for the 1% of the 1% by trading-in the health of We the People. Under the Senate plan (made in secret by a committee of men who did not listen to citizen testimony, entertain debate, or consider alternatives) 22 million Americans will lose their health insurance and 50-64 year-olds will pay astronomical health care insurance premiums. As fairness, decency, empathy, and compassion have died, those with pre-existing conditions may too.  Our calls, letters, and petitions have fallen on deaf ears and closed hearts as the 1% of the 1% pull the strings of their Congressional puppets. No amount of protest, shaming, or appeal will make a difference.  What will? Your vote in 2018 and your support of compassionate candidates for U.S. Congress who will listen to your healthcare needs, encourage open debate, add the successful experience of every other developed country on the planet, and move our healthcare system and the health of our citizens into the 21st century.  I'm Dr. Janet Everhard and I care about your health and the health of your family. My track record proves it. In 1989 I started my residency at the University of Cincinnati and in 1993 created my own medical/surgical practice which served women across SW Ohio. After losing the use of my hands in 2010, I have volunteered as Veteran Outreach Coordinator, event planner, kayaking instructor, and photographer for the local chapter of Team River Runner. This organization uses kayaking as a recreational therapy tool for veterans afflicted with PTSD, severe physical disability, chronic homelessness, and substance abuse.  As a physician for women and a volunteer for veterans I learned to listen, distill information needed to devise solutions, make decisions under stress, and work hard to implement a cure. Those skills, coupled with empathy and compassion, are sorely needed in Washington. To that end I am offering my services to the citizens of southwestern Ohio as the next U.S. Representative in the 2nd Congressional District. We need a Doctor in the House! You can help me get there.  For 16 months until the General election in November 2018 I will continue to work every waking minute to unseat the ineffective (un)representative of Ohio's Second Congressional District. My success in this effort is dependent on the financial investment of people LIKE YOU. A professional campaign with expert personnel and television advertising is expensive but if EVERYONE chips in a few dollars per month for the next 16 months we can reach our goals.  Today is the day to take a stand against the current administration. Please invest in a future of good health for our country and its citizens by clicking that DONATE button NOW!

Evolution and Rebellion

Experts say that our worldview is shaped by our youthful experiences. As a child of the 60's this empathetic, eager-to please, hard-working daughter of a teacher and a salesman, hit the “born in the right place and time” lottery. A free-range Kansas kid, I explored my world with a shiny blue bike I'd purchased for $62 (many years of carefully saved Christmas and birthday checks) and with a reading perch up in the pine tree, devouring my library books. When I came down to earth, I viewed real life drama through my black and white TV. It showed me a world of racial injustice, war, assassinations of beloved leaders, and, eventually, a moon landing. My world view evolved when I saw the image of a tiny black girl walking to school flanked by two huge guards, in awe of her bravery. It rebelled when my German grandfather spewed racist hate on a St. Louis drive-by of the new “projects” My world view evolved when I sat in the rock hard pew of the Methodist church learning to turn the other cheek and share with the poor. It rebelled while viewing Vietnam carnage or race riots in the comfort of my living room. My world view evolved in high school as I learned to be entrepreneurial and show up for leadership as the president of four Junior Achievement companies. It rebelled in the real world as I repeatedly experienced sexual harassment as an employee. Evolution and rebellion. It became my life story. Continue reading

Plain and Simple Fear

    The people of southwestern Ohio are afraid. “I'm scared to death I'll lose my healthcare” lamented a 62-year old woman in Mt. Adams last evening. I hear the same concern in the voices of citizens in Amberley Village, Silverton, Anderson Township, Madeira, Milford, New Richmond, Georgetown, West Union, Hillsboro, Chillicothe, Waverly, and Portsmouth. Across Congressional District 2 everyone I meet tells me their story. The central theme of their stories is fear.  As a retired physician caring for the people of southwestern Ohio since 1989, I center myself with an open mind and heart, listening for the “heartbeat” of the person and her community. Identifying the problem and seeking a cure is what I've always practiced as a physician and continue to do as a private citizen and political candidate.  If we take the time to listen, what do the people of our district say? Most fear losing access to affordable quality healthcare. Intuitively we all know that there is no “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” without a chance for good health. Even those folks comfortably ensconced in the privilege of golden corporate health insurance empathize with the health insecurity of their adult children or neighbors. Concern about a safety net for the vulnerable among us is important to most (especially those who attend Democrat meetings) but, surprisingly, disdained by the vitriolic elderly woman seated across from me at the Fayetteville Fire Department Fish Fry.  In addition to healthcare insecurity, across southwestern Ohio I hear concerns of widespread job insecurity, financial insecurity, environmental insecurity, educational insecurity, local services insecurity, peace insecurity, free press insecurity, social justice insecurity, Constitutional insecurity, gun violence insecurity, food insecurity, electoral insecurity... In other words, OUR GOVERNING LEADERS ARE FAILING US.      Continue reading

Networking Works!

                                                                                                                    One of the benefits of our 2016 Write-in campaign was meeting kindred spirits all over the second Congressional District. As I traveled throughout the eight counties I was welcomed with open arms. Every Democratic meeting or fundraiser felt like a family reunion! Recently, that networking paid off in the fight against disenfranchisement. The source of disenfranchisement in the district has been the combination of a "phantom" candidate William R Smith and Democratic voters who are not aware they are being hoodwinked by him. But something incredible happened through the work of friends in Clermont, Ross, and Pike counties.  A Democrat from Clermont County pulled Smith's petitions for 2012, 14, and 16. There was a definite pattern as the same 80 or so people signed the petitions year after year and there was only one circulator.  A Democrat from Ross County met with me and discussed her theories about the Smith mystery, confirming that the circulator was a Dem office-holder in Pike County. The next day, Braydon Bevins of Pike County (who ran for Ohio school board in 2016) invited me to speak with the petition circulator before the Pike County Dems meeting. He informed me that the signatures came from the workers at the Pike County government building. I cleared my schedule and rushed to Waverly! Which conspiracy theory would prevail?                                                                   Continue reading

My "Win"

When I began my fight against disenfranchisement in District 2, it sprang from outrage that Democrats didn't have a choice in an important election. The Tea Party Republican was unopposed in the general election after a generically named “non-candidate” fooled voters once again in the Democratic primary.  I was advised by party leaders that I could ask Mr. Smith to step down (he didn't) or run as a write-in candidate where, at best, I would garner a small fraction of the vote. By getting out there to campaign, I would sow the seeds for future runs and that with a revision of gerrymandering and my name actually printed on the ballot, I could have a chance to be the voice for the 713,000 citizens of District 2 in Washington.  I weighed the pros and cons. If I didn't deplete personal funds, endanger my health, or seriously ignore my family during the process there really was no “con”. So I worked the campaign as hard as I was able.  What I underestimated was that I could “win” even if I didn't win the actual election.  My “win” was the people I encountered on the journey—kindred spirits from all walks of life. I met amazing women canvassers, youthful enthusiastic Hillary organizers, intelligent and ernest candidates, wise Party leaders, and hundreds of folks who shook my hand, looked into my eyes and told me their story. The campaign chapter of my life story will be cherished for the human connections I made. Thank you for walking with me on my journey.  

Never, Ever Be a Pig

As a sensitive, book-loving girl growing up in Prairie Village, Kansas, I was influenced by a gruff attorney (turned registered Shorthorn breeder) named Howard--my grandfather. He taught me many things: never sign anything without reading, make friends with the bulls by having them (literally) eating a sorghum pellet out of my hand, and don't scratch my ear at a cattle auction.  One thing Howard “don't call me Grandpa” always said was “you can be a bull, you can be a bear, but never, ever be a pig”. It took me a few years until I understood we weren't discussing farm animals but greed, that it was his gruff way of teaching me integrity despite difference of opinion.  Perhaps I should teach my grandchildren that you can be a red elephant, you can be a blue donkey, you can be a green frog, but you should never, ever be a Trump.  We tell the truth.  We respect and care for our neighbors at home and around the world.  We walk our talk.  We tread lightly on our earth.  We appreciate what our founding fathers originated and work together to create a more inclusive version.  Elephants, donkeys, and frogs may disagree but should never, ever compromise their integrity and become a Trump.

The Cincinnati Enquirer Asks, and I Answer

  One of the ways candidates earn the endorsements of organizations is through answering questionnaires. The Cincinnati Enquirer questions should be of interest to everyone.  Would you support putting troops on the ground in Syria to fight ISIS? Why or why not?  According to Air Force Col. John Dorrian, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman during a September 23, 2016 briefing, the current coalition of 18 countries is successfully working to defeat Daesh (ISIS) with airstrikes and the training/equiping of Iraqi Security forces. As of September 27, 2016 the DoD reported more than 15,000 airstrikes on Iraq and Syria by the U.S. and partner nations. On September 28, 2016 the Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that President Obama had authorized 600 additional troops to enable Iraqi forces as they prepare to take Mosul. There appears to be no need for committing large scale U.S. ground troops at this time. Therefore, I would not vote to do so. Did you support Gov. John Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act? Why or why not? Balancing the healthcare needs of Ohio families and taxpayers requires an efficient and effective healthcare system. By creating a cabinet level Medicaid Department and a unified accounting and budgeting system, Gov. Kasich has helped modernize Ohio's Medicaid system. When he expanded Medicaid coverage to aid 650,000 Ohioans in 2014, Kasich was criticized by conservatives. I support the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio as it is good for patients, and taxpayers. One of the benefits of Medicaid expansion is a lower rate of hospital stays. It can also help in treating the heroin epidemic as it can free up local resources to be used by local task forces. Better workforce health makes Ohio more attractive to business.    What does immigration reform mean to you, and what would you do to get it done? Hillary Clinton has proposed the following immigration reform, which I support: Creating an Office of Immigrant Affairs to help with integrating immigrants into their communities Providing small grants to community navigators to aid successful integration Expanding English language and citizenship education Eliminating barriers for the 9 million legal permanent residents who are currently eligible for citizenship.  The DREAM Act has been introduced and re-introduced to Congress several times. Law-abiding young adults who arrived in the U.S. as children and have lived here five consecutive years, have graduated from a U.S. High school, and have registered for the selective service should be eligible for citizenship. I would support passing the DREAM Act.   What, if anything, should be done in response to the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage? We should applaud Cincinnati's Jim Obergefell for his heroic effort.   What makes you the best candidate? My Tea Party Republican opponent accepts campaign donations from large corporate and special interests which creates a conflict of interest. For example, according to Project Vote Smart, Tea Party Brad Wenstrup has accepted $12,000 from Duke Energy. In December 2015 he voted for HR8 which allows running natural gas transmission pipelines through our National Parks. I doubt Wenstrup will be helping the citizens of Blue Ash, Deer Park, Silverton, and Amberley Village protest the Duke Energy high pressure natural gas transmission pipeline proposed to run through their neighborhoods. I accept only small donor and Democratic club donations so have no obligation to return favors. I would support a citizen movement to amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United and take big money out of politics. My DINO opponent William R. Smith needs to stop hijacking the Democratic vote with his generic name. I am the write-in candidate endorsed by the Ohio Democratic Party. Instead of supporting gridlock, I would approach the legislative process with creativity, innovative ideas,  a desire for collaboration,  and caring for the 713,000 citizens of the 2nd Congressional District over big business. Please see one of my original ideas at www.usaworkscommunity.org