All candidates for U.S. House Ohio District 8 Democratic primary complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

All three candidates running in the March 19, 2024, Democratic primary for Ohio’s 8th Congressional District — Vanessa Enoch (D), David Gelb (D), and Nathaniel Hawkins (D) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Here are the candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?


“I am a public policy and business consultant with a deep passion for social justice and human rights. I have actively worked on various causes for marginalized and oppressed communities. My personal passions include ensuring fairness within the criminal justice system and in the jury selection process. I am particularly concerned about the high incarceration rates of poor, mentally ill, and minority individuals in America’s prisons.

I am also an advocate for systemic changes to address issues faced by Black Americans due to systemic racism and inequalities. I support equitable public school funding and sensible gun laws to prevent mass shootings. Additionally, I am a proponent of renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal energy.

I am committed to providing affordable healthcare, supporting a public Medicare option, and saving Social Security. This includes addressing issues like mass incarceration, which I believe affects the social security system, and advocating for immigration system reforms to encourage new tax revenue.

With a professional background in both business and education, my diverse experiences have informed my approach to policy-making, and my leadership roles in various capacities reflect my commitment to public service and community engagement.”


“As a passionate advocate for the rights of Ohioans, I strongly believe that it is essential for all individuals to have access to their Social Security benefits when they retire or face injury. These benefits serve as a critical lifeline for millions of Americans who have invested their hard-earned money in the Social Security System and depend on it to fund their retirement. I will work towards eliminating the waiting periods for SSDI and work to ensure that there is no ‘benefit cliff’ for SSDI beneficiaries.

Moreover, I will take additional steps to protect those with physical and mental disabilities and provide them with affordable, accessible technologies and treatments that will help them lead fulfilling lives. As an individual with two senior citizen parents to care for, I understand the vital importance of improving access to home- and community-based care for those with disabilities and for older Americans.

Together, we can build a brighter, more inclusive future for all Ohioans, where everyone has access to the vital resources and support they need to thrive.”


“I am personally passionate about several areas of policy. In the age of school shootings and other mass shooting attacks, as a father, I dread the day that I have to put my son in school. I think about the thought that any crazy person with a gun could come and harm him. Many law-abiding citizens own firearms in Ohio. However, some people should never get their hands on any firearm, and we need legislation to protect Ohioans and our children from these dangerous individuals. I also feel strongly about women’s reproductive rights. As a man, it might not seem like I should have a reason to care as much as I do about abortion. However, when I sit down and think about the reasons why I should care, I find many. I am the fiancé of a beautiful woman, brother to two wonderful sisters, and son of an amazing mother. All are women whom I would want to have access to an abortion if their lives depended on it. Furthermore, they should be able to have an abortion if they choose to because it’s their choice and their choice alone. Watching women have their rights stripped away should scare all of us because if it happens to one group of people, it can happen to all of us. Making sure that people have the right to a living wage is also of paramount importance to me. Growing up in a union household, I understood early on that every American deserves to work with dignity, be free from harm in the workplace, and be fairly compensated for their time spent away from their families.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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