Janet's Story

"Government is about giving people the opportunity to claim their dignity and work towards a brighter future all across this country, and especially right here in Ohio. I will never stop working to make this future a reality, and I am honored to fight alongside you as we march towards tomorrow."  

From the day I was born in Troy, Ohio I have been proud to call Ohio my home. I grew up in a family with three siblings . My father was an elementary school principal and my mother was a homemaker. As a child, I hated school. At the age of 12 I had become determined to do a better job than the teachers I had had. I decided that I would become a teacher myself, and while this was an unusual path to teaching, it is one of the reasons that I have always had an affinity for students who are struggling in the classroom.  I began my teaching career at the age of 22. I taught for 3 years and then joined the Peace Corps and went to Micronesia. Throughout that time I struggled with my role there and spent a lot of time reflecting on America. That experience was life changing and forever influences what I think is important and what isn’t. I had gone hoping to change the world, but I discovered that my presence there was far more complicated than I expected it to be. I decided that the best thing I could do was go home and support my own people.

I went back to graduate school and got my Master’s Degree from Kent State University. I spent more than 35 years teaching in classrooms with Ohio’s students, helping them find success from the start by teaching first grade, kindergarten, and special education. Over this time I also married my first husband and raised three strong feminist daughters, Ariel, Natael, and Mira, who continue to make me proud everyday. Raising three children isn’t easy and, like too many Ohioans, I faced many challenges raising my children. As a result, I have come out stronger and more dedicated to making life easier for families like mine across the state.

After 35 years of working with families of all walks of life, I understand the struggles that people go through.  

We need to do more to help our children in schools, more to protect women, and more to make opportunities for decent-paying jobs and make college more affordable to everyone who has that drive.

During my career I also had the opportunity to serve on the executive board of our teachers union. I even took on the role of president and was at the negotiating table more times than I can count. I know what it takes to get a better deal for Ohio’s teachers, children, and families, and I will take that experience to Washington, where I will fight tirelessly for everyone in the 4th district. From here, getting involved in the political process was a natural step.

In 2006, I married my second husband and my best friend, Michael Garrett.

My heroes growing up were the young men and women who used their voices to speak out against injustice in the 60s, standing up for women’s rights and civil rights, and sparking change across the country.

As an adult I have volunteered with democratic campaigns since 1988. In 2011 I was shocked after the 4th district was aggressively gerrymandered to protect Republican seats, like Jim Jordan’s, and to limit political opposition. Since then, I have been a vocal opponent of Jim Jordan. I helped launch “Jordan Watch”, an independent organization with a mission of opposing Jim Jordan’s attacks on civil liberties and women’s rights. I helped the Obama campaign connect with voters in the 4th district during his successful bids for president. But, I also watched the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign fail to reach the people struggling in the 4th district, and I was reminded that leadership means never leaving people behind. Although I never intended to run for office, it was with this mentality that I first stepped into the political arena.

In 2014, I had already seen two years of Jim Jordan leaving people behind. I was truly disheartened to see that he was on course to win again without serious democratic opposition. That was when Marcy Kaptur convinced me that I had a duty to stand up for the people I knew Jim Jordan was hurting. So I threw my name into the primary as a write-in candidate. 2,500 people voted for me in that primary. Everyone of them wrote it right, Janet Garrett, two “r’s” and two “t’s”. I was deeply honored. And, while I didn’t beat Jim Jordan that year, I have never given up on working to hold him accountable.

Currently Janet resides with her husband Mike Garrett in Oberlin and has three adult children, Ariel, Natael, and Mira. 

This year I am fired up!

Since 2016, national politics in this country has taken a dark turn. The Trump Administration, supported by Jim Jordan, has proposed, among other things, massive cuts to healthcare and a tax plan that helps the very rich and hurts the middle class. It has been a tough year to watch from the sidelines, but so far the people in Ohio have given me hope. There is so much energy at the grassroots level. Even with all of the pessimism coming out of Washington, the movement for a brighter future is picking up steam. When I speak with people at events around the fourth district there are always people who are getting involved with politics for the first time. People are tired of politicians who are in it for themselves. They are ready for new opportunities and a brighter tomorrow. Every one of these people, young and old, gives me hope and inspires me to keep fighting for the government that we deserve.

I strongly believe that government is about taking care of people, all people, not just the rich.

It is about restoring decent jobs and decent wages. It is about protecting the future of the planet for our children, and about protecting the rights of our neighbors. Government is about giving people the opportunity to claim their dignity and work towards a brighter future all across this country, and especially right here in Ohio. I will never stop working to make this future a reality, and I am honored to fight alongside you as we march towards tomorrow.