Candidate Name: Aaron Godfrey
What office are you running for?
US House, 16th District
With which party are you running for office?
Why are you running for office?
Despite our gerrymandered districts, we need to make our voices heard. No matter the odds we must run and let our dissent be known. Beyond that, I believe we need a strong progressive voice in Congress fighting for our common values and beliefs, whether they be healthcare, living wages, affordable education – the list goes on. I will be that voice, and I will not back down from those fights: hopefully my running for a second time in this egregiously gerrymandered district is sign enough that I am willing to take on tough fights to make sure our voices are heard. While I could go on forever, I will conclude with my background. I am a physicist, and the perspective of scientists is one not heard within the walls of Congress often enough. Moreover, I come from a working class family, and fought every second of my life to get to where I am today in a country that is turning the American Dream into a fantasy. I want to fight to make sure others can do the same.
What is the biggest issue facing your community and how do you propose helping?
This is difficult to cover in a line or two due to the nature of the 16th District, so allow me to touch on a few.
Regardless of where in the 16th you live, healthcare has got to be up there: this entire region has been afflicted by the opioid epidemic, and while we are seeing progress there, it is not enough, and it is too slow. We need to expand the presence of treatment centers throughout the district, and we need to make sure people can seek help without worrying about going bankrupt. More generally, I support Medicare For All – especially the proposition put forth by Sen. Elizabeth Warren – but would take absolutely any step in that direction I could take. Medicare For All is the goal, but it is not do-or-die: we need to be willing to make steady progress towards it, if political headwinds prevent immediate adoption.
Ending the trade wars is another huge issue we have got to deal with. The Legislative Branch has ceded far too much power to the Executive, and the Trade War and its resulting tariffs the President has levied on our key trading partners are a direct result of that. They are harming the farmers who live in the rural reaches of the 16th, and hurting our economy on the whole, costing American consumers more and more every time he irresponsibly throws another one on the pile.
Environmental issues will be another big push for me. I know a lot of people in Medina County upset with fracking going on their area, and the pipelines being driven through their land. Fracking is a relic of the past that needs to be put in the recycling bin as we push towards a green future, and energy companies need to be held accountable for the damage they do with their pipelines and the destruction of personal property they cause.
Lastly, more generally speaking, I’d say a mixture of gerrymandering and general corruption – the corruption present in the district’s lines, which were drawn (or bought, depending on who you ask) with GOP donor money. Gerrymandering has roped in a lot of communities with little in common for the sake of a supposed sure-win for the Republican nominee, and no politician should be able to choose their voters the way the GOP did after the last census.
How do we fix the partisan divide in our country and start working together again?
Break the Trump fever, first and foremost, which has been created and maintained by the partisan gerrymandering that took place after the 2010 elections. My main initiative I would push in to fight against the real “fake news” is to re-enact the Fairness Doctrine, which mandated broadcasting companies to present controversial content in a way that was honest, fair and balanced. The repeal of that in 1987 allowed a lot of today’s extremist media outlets to take hold, whether that’s Fox News or whatever the equivalent for the left might be.
Who is your hero?
I often like to say I have several Congressional heroes. Among them would be Senators Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, in no particular order. The last couple weeks have lead me to look up to Rep. Adam Schiff quite a bit, too.
Outside of DC, I would have to say my late father, Paul Godfrey. He was the very idea of the working man, of the dad who gave everything he had to make sure his kids would have a better life than he or my mom did. You could easily say he sacrificed his own life to make that happen. There is no question in my mind that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the extraordinary sacrifices he made for us. He taught me to fight the good fight, even if it looks like you are going to lose, because one of the most important things you can do with your life is to try your damndest to help others however you can, whether that means donating old clothes to charity, or earning the ire of his kids by staying late at every parent/teacher assembly ever and helping stack chairs and fold tables. He was that kind of guy. How do you not look up to that, especially in the world we live in today?
What are your hobbies?
I try to use most of my free time to give back to the community however I can, which comes out in my volunteer work in animal welfare and my involvement with Progressive Caucus as well as the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.
What is the most recent book you read?
The last book I read was “Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence”, by John Ferling. I seriously can’t recommend that book enough, it was incredible and I learned a lot from it. I am currently reading “It Can’t Happen Here” (Sinclair Lewis) and “Upheaval” (Jared Diamond).
Do you have any kids/pets/talking houseplants?
I have a dog named Gypsy, a border collie mix I rescued while living in the Cincinnati area for school. I also occasionally entertain my girlfriend’s dog, a long-haired Daschund rescue named Chili No Beans (yes, seriously). The two are pretty good friends and can regularly be seen bouncing around each other and barking at each other.
How can our readers get involved in your campaign?
You can reach out directly on our Facebook page, or check out our website and the “get involved” links. We are currently in the midst of a big website upgrade, though, so if that doesn’t work, you can directly reach out by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
What question do you wish we’d asked, and what is your answer?
Involvement with nonprofits and within the local community — been a volunteer at Friendship APL in Elyria, OH since 2011, currently on board of directors for Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ravenna OH, and currently Ohio Chapter Outings Lead for Sierra Club OH Chapter. On top of all that, I am an active member of the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, and serve on both the Executive and Central Committees of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party (representing Westlake Ward 3-D).
Post created from answers submitted by candidate to our Meet the Candidate survey.
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