WHEELING - Touting herself as "pro-life, pro-gun and pro-coal," Democrat Jennifer Garrison pledged to take her eastern Ohio values to Washington, D.C., should voters elect her to Congress next year.
Garrison, a lawyer who served as a member of the Ohio House from 2004-2010, is seeking the Democrat nomination to challenge Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, in the 2014 mid-term election.
"People in our district just want elected officials to do their jobs," Garrison said. "Right now, it seems that Washington is broken."
Ohio's 6th Congressional District now includes most of eastern Ohio, from the outskirts of Youngstown in the north to Ironton in the south. Locally, it encompasses all of Belmont, Jefferson, Harrison, Monroe, Columbiana and Guernsey counties.
"I have lived in this district for 23 years. I know the people and I know the area," she said. "The people in this district care about jobs; they want to provide for their children's futures and they want to retire in dignity."
Garrison was born in Fort Thomas, Ky., just outside Cincinnati, and graduated from Xavier University. She obtained her law degree from the Catholic University Law School in Washington, D.C. While a student, Garrison worked on Capitol Hill in the State of Ohio's Washington, D.C. office from 1985-87.
She was first elected to the Ohio House in 2004, serving there through 2010. Garrison initially planned to run for Ohio Secretary of State in 2010, but later withdrew from the race. After retiring from the Ohio General Assembly, Garrison founded the Southeastern Ohio Landowners' Association. The group has helped landowners throughout the region collectively negotiate bonus payments in excess of $250 million on their Marcellus and Utica shale oil and natural gas mineral leases, Garrison said.
"The most important issue in this district, that I hear, is the economy and job creation," Garrison added, calling the oil and gas industry, "a game changer."
"The opportunities for growth are there. And we can have the development and the same time we are protecting the water," she said regarding fracking and other drilling activities.
Regarding the recent federal government shutdown and employee furloughs, Garrison said these problems arise because members of Congress are now unwilling to work together.
"We should have never let the government shut down. There was just too much at stake. There was no reason that this should have ever gotten so out of control," she said.
To this point, Garrison is the only announced candidate seeking to challenge Johnson next year. Ohio Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, considered running against Johnson, but eventually announced he planned to continue serving at the state level.