The Buffalo, New York native has lived in Cleveland for the past eight years and is a physician at The Cleveland Clinic. Jon Heavey received his undergraduate degrees in biomedical engineering and pre-medicine from Dartmouth College, went to Vanderbilt University for medical school and obtained an MBA from Yale University. He also served as an infantry field surgeon in Iraq.
Heavey’s combination of outsider experience and passion to make a change paints him as an interesting candidate for governor. He joins a crowded Democratic race which, per The Cincinnati Enquirer, includes former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray, former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Ohio Supreme Court justice Bill O’Neill, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, Larry Ealy of Dayton, Ohio and Paul E. Ray of Alliance, Ohio. The current Republican candidates are Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor.
“The system is fully entrenched with insiders, and I feel very strongly about changing that,” Heavey said.
Whoever wins the gubernatorial election will have an important role in shaping the policies the state adapts. As Gov. John Kasich leaves the position after serving two terms, the opportunity for new ideas and plans opens. Voters have an important duty this November to determine the direction they believe the state should head.
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The next governor of Ohio also will have a plethora of issues to address, including job growth, health care and the opioid epidemic ravaging through the state. Heavey and his running mate, firefighter and paramedic Adam Hudak, feel they have a unique perspective to bring to the office.
“I see people everyday affected by opioid addiction, as does Adam, and we are committed to doing what we can to help those in need,” Heavey said. “We need health care systems rooted at the bedside, not in Washington, D.C.”
Heavey and Hudak are especially excited to implement the People’s Platform in their campaign. According to the duo’s official website, the People’s Platform serves as a way for the average citizen to share ideas about how to better the community. Ideas are then voted for online, and the most important ones rise to the top. This way, political leaders can see exactly what their constituents want and be held accountable for executing those ideas.
Heavey has gained support from some Democrats, but his campaign is facing some challenges.
Heavey announced his candidacy just a few days before the Feb. 7 filing deadline to be included on the primary ballot, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Candidates need at least 1,000 signatures to be considered for the ballot. Heavey submitted 2,185 signatures, but only 854 were deemed valid by county boards of elections.
On Feb. 27, Heavey filed a lawsuit against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and the election boards of Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Summit and Warren counties challenging the decision to keep him off the primary ballot. Although this lawsuit is an ongoing process, Heavey remains optimistic.
“We’re really just looking to be given a fair shot within the systems afforded to us,” he said. “Even if we don’t end up on the Democratic ballot, we can run as independents.”
Heavey’s passion for improving the community began when he was in college. He would encourage other college students who feel that spark to take advantage of any opportunity handed to them.
“Just go for it,” Heavey advises. “There’s nothing better than the energy young people have for their communities. It’s a contagious feeling.”
Despite some setbacks, Heavey looks forward to the opportunity to run for governor. His vision for Ohio and plan to rectify corrupt systems make him a candidate to look out for.
The Ohio gubernatorial primary will take place May 8, 2018 and the general election will take place Nov. 6, 2018. For more information about Dr. Heavey’s platform, visit jonheavey.com.