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Morgan Harper Challenging Rep. Joyce Beatty For Ohio's 3rd District

Flanked by supporters at Social Justice Park in downtown Columbus, political newcomer Morgan Harper announced her run for Congress. She’s launching a progressive challenge against incumbent Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio).

“We need a new generation of leadership that’s ready to fight for bold policies that wil actually have an impact on working peoples’ lives,” Harper told her audience. “Policies that will ensure my story is every child’s story.”

Harper turned 36 on Monday, saying she decided to launch a congressional bid on her birthday because it marks the first in a string of lucky breaks. Harper spent her first nine months in foster care before being adopted by a Columbus City Schools teacher.

“My beginning was full of uncertainty, but I actually got very lucky, and it was the people, community, institutions, my mom that really made it possible for me to have this life,” Harper says.

Harper attended Columbus Academy thanks to financial aid, and relied on similar assistance to attend college at Tufts, Princeton and Stanford. She says access to a good education opened a lot of doors, and she wants other kids to have the same opportunities.

“My main focus really for my life and also as part of this campaign is trying to do things that I think will support working people to get ahead," Harper says. "So a lot of the policies connect to creating systems that don’t leave so much to chance for kids to have opportunity.”

Professionally, Harper worked at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—under former director and ex-Ohio governor candidate Richard Cordray—and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a non-profit focused on community development and affordable housing.

Her platform includes ideas popular among the new class of progressives in Congress, like the "Green New Deal," free public college and "Medicare For All." Harper says her chief concern is economic segregation.

Beatty has held her 3rd District seat since 2012. In a statement, she said she remains committed to her constituents.

“I look forward to running in 2020 and serving the people of Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District,” Beatty says. “Throughout my entire life, both personally and professionally, I have fought for better jobs, better wages, and a brighter future for the people—and I promise to continue do so each and every day here in Central Ohio and in Congress.”

The primary election is coming up next March.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.