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Published on October 24th, 2018 | by Ryan Michael


A Veteran’s Guide to Ohio’s 2018 Elections

Ohio’s veteran community has a voice that extends far, far beyond military matters. The men and women who served in our armed forces have a commitment to service that carries beyond time spent on active duty; they eagerly embrace the opportunity to make a positive impact in their communities with political activism and neighborly aid.

My friend and the lead organizer for the Ohio Veterans Network, Zach Roberts, put it succinctly and wonderfully in his post about announcing the launch of his organization:

“Ohio’s veterans want the same things as every Ohioan — to be able to make a decent living and to provide for their families. Our state and local policymakers directly impact our ability to achieve these goals, and that is why a veteran’s voice is needed in the public debate — not just to advocate for the needs of our constituency, but for all of us as Ohioans.”

OVN exists to organize and galvanize veterans around the state of Ohio into speaking out and fighting for critical policy change. Its work is exciting, important and trending upwards in a major way, but Ohio Veterans Network does not have a monopoly on political action by veterans in our great state. Thankfully, we have a well-established bunch of candidates with military backgrounds on hand who already running for office and fighting for progressive values.

Ohio is rich with veterans fighting to turn the tide against the conservative onslaught that has drained the state’s coffers and hurt its citizens. Swing State Voices is taking the opportunity to highlight some of the most prominent candidates that fit that profile, as well as listing every progressive veteran (and their record of service) running for major state or legislative seats in this cycle.


  • 7th District – Ken Harbaugh – A long-time Naval pilot who flew reconnaissance missions over North Korea and operations throughout the Middle East

Ohio State Senate

  • District 11 – Teresa Fedor – U.S. Air Force veteran from 1975-78 and Ohio Air National Guard from 1980-83
  • District 15 – Hearcel Craig – U.S. Army veteran from 1970-72
  • District 21 – Sandra Williams – U.S. Army Reserve until 1995
  • District 29 – Lauren Friedman – Naval intelligence officer and U.S. Naval Academy graduate with two wartime deployments during Iraq War from 2002-2007. Friedman is challenging for a difficult seat in Stark County, but she’s running against a career politician and has a chance to make a real run at this one. Kirk Schurring, her Republican opponent, served in the Ohio State Senate’s 29th District and Ohio House of Representatives’ 48th District from 1996 until present — he is term-limited in both and unable to run for re-election in his previous seat, so he moved to maintain his grip on political power and influence. Friedman hopes to prevent that kind of chicanery and bring honesty back to Ohio politics.

  • District 33 – John Boccieri – U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel with 910th Airlift Wing, four deployments during Iraq War and 24 years of military service in more than 40 countries

Ohio House of Representatives

  • District 5 – John Dyce – Enlisted Navy vet from 1969-1973 in Vietnam War
  • District 17 – Adam Miller – Currently a Lieutenant Colonel in Army Reserve, previously deployed to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division in 2004, awarded the US Army’s Meritorious Service Medal (MSM). In addition to his work serving in direct military roles, Miller has a long back ground of aiding veterans in their legal battles during and after their times of service. Per his biography, Miller is a board member with Operation Legal Help Ohio, a pro-bono veterans’ project and a former chair of the Ohio State Bar Association Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Miller helped start a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to serving the legal needs of veterans and military families in that role.

  • District 26 – Erica Crawley – United States Navy veteran, awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal for her dedication and professionalism while providing continuous fleet support of two carrier battle groups, four amphibious ready groups and numerous auxiliary steaming units during Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • District 37 – Casey Weinstein – 2004 grad of Air Force Academy, served active duty for three years as a captain and then as a reserve captain. You can read more about Weinstein and his race at this link.
  • District 45 – Lisa Sobecki – Naval veteran
  • District 46 – Michael Sheehy – U.S. Army lieutenant beginning in 1971
  • District 47 – Gary Newnham – U.S. Army veteran, stationed in Germany
  • District 50 – Cassie Gabelt – Four-year Navy veteran from 2008-12, serving as a liaison between government contractors
  • District 54 – Nikki Foster – Major in the U.S. Air Force and a graduate of the Air Force Academy who accumulated more than 3000 hours of flight on over 200 combat missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the globe in a KC-10 Extender and MC-12, commanding intelligence and reconnaissance missions. Foster is now entering her 14th year of military service, Nikki is currently an Air Force Reservist, serving as a USAF Academy Admissions Liaison Officer. Her military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, eight Air Medals, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. Foster’s record of service is tremendous and she leans heavily (justifiably so) on her long track record of support for fellow veterans and their families during her campaign efforts. She is running against Republican crony Paul Zeltwanger, a two-term incumbent, in the suburban 54th District just north of Cincinnati.

  • District 67 – Cory Hoffman – Petty Officer in U.S. Naval Reserve
  • District 68 – Kathleen Tate – Served in the U.S. Air Force
  • District 79 – Amanda Finfrock – Captain in the Army National Guard JAG Corps
  • District 86 – Glenn Coble – A Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army — and a featured act in the U.S. Army Field Band — from 1969 to 1972.
  • District 89 – Joe Helle – U.S. Army Veteran, serving as an Airborne Infantry Sergeant from 2004 until 2011 and deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

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