|Fort Thomas resident Alexandra Owensby outside the Midway Cafe. She is a candidate for Kentucky's Fourth District in the U.S. House of Representatives|
By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor
Fort Thomas resident and nurse practitioner Alexandra Owensby is new to politics. Before early 2019, she hadn’t considered running for office and was busy being a single mom to her two children and working in neurology and neurosurgery at UC Medical Center.
Now she is challenging US Representative Thomas Massie to represent citizens in Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District. The District includes 20 counties, the three urban Northern Kentucky counties and 17 more prominently rural counties.
|Voted Best Yoga Studio in Kentucky by "Best Things Kentucky." Located at 18 N. Fort Thomas Ave.|
She returned to school at the University of South Florida to earn a Master’s degree and a PhD to become a nurse practitioner. She moved to Fort Thomas, found a job she loves in a fulfilling career and began to rebuild her life.
Not leaders, but representatives
Yet, she became concerned that she had earned a college degree in a demanding field but needed advanced degrees and mounting student debt to be able to provide fully for her family.
As a nurse working in the front lines of health care, often with patients and families facing medical crisis, she heard many tales of the difficulties caused by medical costs. Some of her patients, she said, faced a choice between food and medicine.
She said she started to pay more attention to what was going on in Washington. "I began to feel we should stop referring to these people as 'our leaders.' They are our representatives. It seemed those in office did not look or sound much like me or the people around me."
Women, she said, make up only 25 percent of Congress, yet are 51 percent of the population. Still not thinking of running herself, Owensby tried to convince a lawyer friend to run for office and agreed to help figure out how to go about that.
With no political background, the task seemed daunting. She researched how to run, how to set up campaigns and finance them, what the deadlines and other requirements are for running for office.
The more Owensby learned, she said, the more she thought maybe it wasn’t as scary as it seemed. Maybe she could run herself. Her children loved the idea and encouraged her to do it. Her son, who is 13, designed her business card and website. Her daughter, who is 10, also helps out. It’s a family affair.
"I think it’s great for them to get involved and learn about this at a young age," she said. "Overall, it’s been an enlightening experience learning how it all works... I’m learning from others and have met so many people along the way, some have become incredible friends."
Respecting points of view, working together
It is hard for the average American to run for office. The costs are high, but we need average Americans to represent the interests of average Americans, she said. In addition to health care reform, getting money out of politics so that more people can run is a primary goal for the Democratic candidate. She said she’d also like to see term limits. Those in office too long tend to lose touch with those they should represent, she added.
Health care is naturally a major concern and interest for Owensby. If elected, she said, she would want to serve on the Congressional health care committee. "Right now there are only two nurses in Congress and very few doctors. Health care has been getting reinvented by the past three presidents...It is important that we get it fixed, and it’s important to have people on the committee who have been on the front lines."
When asked about the polarization in politics these days, Owensby said, "I think it’s gone too far on both sides. I have many friends that I’ve met at church or elsewhere whose political views I don’t really know, but they are intelligent people with valid points of view. These are real people with opinions that should be respected."
She said she likes Fort Thomas’s neighborhood feel and the community approach her neighbors take — that regardless of political bent, it’s about working together and looking out for one another.