COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) - Voters in the Ohio House 85th district, located halfway between Columbus and Dayton, are likely to get a knock on the door from an 18-year-old hoping to snag a seat at the Statehouse.
Garrett Baldwin is an openly gay moderate Democrat running in a Republican district, where three out of four voters pulled the lever for President Donald Trump in 2016. Baldwin says he’s not your typical Democrat, though. The high school senior is a member of the National Guard and says his campaign is about tolerance for the LGBT community and shaking up the status quo at the Statehouse.
“They [voters] want to know what you believe in, so when I sit down and I talk about the issues — poverty, the drug overdose epidemic and education — they want to know the specifics on it,” Baldwin said. “If they agree, they would love to support me no matter if there’s an R or a D on my name on the ballot.”
Baldwin was raised by a single mother and his upbringing informs his positions on the issues that matter to Ohioans.
“For the longest time, she was working minimum wage, long hours with five children at home, so it was difficult for us to really struggle and such, especially when we had to rely on government assistance programs, Medicaid, food stamps…” Baldwin said. “And we also went to local food banks in order to provide for ourselves.”
Baldwin wants to be a voice for families like his at the Statehouse.
“You look at Columbus and you look at the current representative in the 85th House district and it’s concerning because they approve those government assistance programs and the Medicaid expansion under Governor John Kasich,” Baldwin said. “I was like if no one else is going to stand against that and protect the 14,000 people in our district that are living at or below poverty, then I’m going to.”
If Baldwin wins against Republican incumbent Nino Vitale, he plans on applying to his school district’s board of education for early graduation so he can start the term in January.