Alaina Swope says it’s peer pressure that made her decide to run for office at the age of 23.
Swope has a psychology degree and experience on multiple political campaigns and is now running in Ohio’s heavily-Republican 97th district.
Before graduating from college last year, the openly queer progressive organizer couldn’t imagine seeking a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives — even though a friend urged her to do it. Swope told her.
“No way. I don’t even have a degree yet.”
Swope found out that no Democrats in her home district were running against a Republican who had been appointed to the Ohio House of Representatives in order to fill a vacancy rather than being elected to his seat. That changed her mind.
Swope’s platform of Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and a $15 minimum wage would be familiar to Bernie Sanders‘ supporters. Swope’s first political experience was canvassing and phone banking for the Vermont Senator in 2016.
“We can be pessimistic and people can say that all politicians are crooks, but because Bernie Sanders was my origin into politics, I know that’s not true.”
Rural areas get written off. I do dream sometimes about what it would be like to live in a progressive place because I’ve never experienced that, but progressive don’t always start progressive. And I see just overwhelming potential, especially in Zanesville, the biggest city in the district where I live and where I was born and raised. I see a better future for this area, but someone has to be here fighting for it.
So the cause — the fight — felt a lot more tangible and worthy to come back here and kind of expose people to progressive ideas and people who haven’t been exposed to these ideas before.
When not campaigning, Swope still works at Starbucks.