ITALICS: Kate Schroder is a Democrat running for Congress in Ohio’s First Congressional District
By Kate Schroder
Our country has so many pressing problems — the pandemic, a contracting economy, racial injustices — and we are not going to solve them with the status quo. I’m running for Congress to help solve problems — to expand health care access, to build back our economy, to bring jobs and investment to our community.
At my core, I’ve always been a helper and a doer. In grade school at Nativity, we had Mass every Thursday and Sunday, and the male students were always the “altar boys.” Once in 5th grade, the priest asked for one of the boys to help at Pentecost Mass, but no one volunteered. After much awkward silence, I raised my hand. The priest didn’t know what to do because they had never before had a girl do the job. Eventually, he told me to come on Sunday. And I did. Everything went fine that Sunday, and from that point forward, there were alter girls as well as altar boys at Nativity. That 10-year-old girl – is the same person I am today. I am a helper and a doer.
I’ve spent my career in public health at the intersection of government and business, I worked for three years in legislative politics – in DC with Senator Evan Bayh and in City Hall in Cincinnati. I then got my MBA and spent 15 years in health care, including two years living in Zambia. I managed large global health projects, including a project spanning s four countries that reduced the price of pediatric treatment by over 40% — and increased the number of children receiving correct treatment from 1.2 million to 55 million. And it’s estimated this work has saved the lives of 76,000 children.
I am motivated to solve problems – big and small. Here at home, I’ve served on the Cincinnati Board of Health for the past four years, where I’ve led efforts to help increase the number of dentists in our public health clinics so that more kids and adults don’t have to choose between debilitating pain and going to school or work.
I also have personal experience with healthcare, and know what it’s like when your survival is depending on access to healthcare. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and the only reason I’m alive today is because I had access to the chemo I needed to survive. I am cancer-free, but I’ve never forgotten what it feels like to be vulnerable. And that’s a huge part of why running for office.
Throughout my career I’ve fought tirelessly to help children and those who are most disadvantaged. If elected to Congress, I will be committed to showing up for Black communities, to listening closely, and to centering their voices in Congress. I plan to seek accountability and meaningful reform by advocating for legislation and investment that supports Black communities. This investment is about expanding access to quality healthcare and education, good-paying jobs, social services, affordable housing, and voting rights. I plan to combat racism in policing starting with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which my opponent, Rep. Steve Chabot voted against, as well as establishing a national police misconduct registry and increased reporting. I’m committed to being actively anti-racist, directly supportive of Blackness, and holding people and institutions accountable for racist outcomes.
I want to pose a question that gets to the heart of our identity as Americans: What is our government for? What is its purpose? I believe the government exists to serve ALL its people – not to guarantee their happiness or success, but to make sure everyone has a fair shot – freeing them from injustices of any kind. For too long, our government has not achieved this vision of equal opportunity. We can and must do better. We need leaders who not only acknowledge the inequities but who commit to meaningfully addressing them.
Just as I did in 5th grade, I am raising my hand to help be part of this solution. My run for Congress is not about me; it is about being part of a much broader movement with BLM, LGBTQ activists, frontline workers, families struggling to make ends meet, and committed candidates at all levels of government saying that enough is enough — that our country and community deserves better leadership. Together, we can do this.