When I first met Jean Schmidt she was going door to door in my neighborhood passing out flyers for her campaign and answering any questions locals might have about her run for State Representative. I took the flyer and told her thank you while I went back to hurriedly preparing my kids to go out the door for gymnastics practice. I glanced down at the flyer in my hand and read the words “Jean is 100% Pro-Life and has fought for the unborn throughout her life”. I felt like I needed to go give her a hug and to thank her for her work in fighting for the unborn. I didn’t grab my coat or even tell my kids where I was going, but I immediately ran after her. She had left my property by this time and I had to wonder how weird it would be for me to be chasing her down, but I did it anyway. I didn’t know anything about this woman, except she was out in the streets by herself walking from one door to the next in the back of a huge neighborhood where the houses have quite a bit of distance between them. This takes stamina and commitment for sure! I knew this woman had grit and I had to meet her to find out more. First I hugged her neck and thanked her for being a voice for the voiceless. Then we began chatting. The more I heard of her story the more intrigued I became and asked her if I could get her contact info and do a formal interview for my blog. I am so grateful that she agreed! Her story is absolutely fascinating and definitely checks all the boxes of what “Inspiring Moms” is all about.
Her story begins with her parents who lived out a real-life version of the classic tale of a poor farm boy falling in love with an affluent well educated young lady. Although Jean’s father didn’t have much of an education himself, he always believed that if you work hard, live a clean life, and keep God first then anything is impossible. His strong work ethic drove him to push and keep trying until he had nothing left to give. In the end, all of his hard work and dedication paid off and allowed him to become very successful. Jean’s mother shared those same values. She earned a college degree majoring in French. The two of them married and raised their four children on a gorgeous farm in Miami Township. They taught their children to the same values and principles that allowed them to pursue their dreams. It’s no wonder Jean has such courage and strength. It took a lot of work to get to where she is today.
As Jean looks back at the beginning of her career journey and says “I worked my way through college cleaning houses on new construction sites. I also worked in a bank. I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Political Science” She married her husband Peter Schmidt and they had a daughter. Shortly after the birth of their little girl Jean left her job at the bank to be a full-time mom. Jean read up on motherhood before and after her pregnancy wanting to be prepared. One of the things she learned in that time was that running can often be helpful in fighting postpartum depression. So Jean decided to run. She ran daily and she kept running. She worked her way up to running her first marathon in 1990 and over the course of the next two decades Jean has run a total of 149 marathons and counting!
As far as how Jean got involved in politics she says “I have always been active in the Republican Party. At first, I worked on campaigns for other folks- writing copy, making signs, etc. In 1989 I decided to run for Miami Township Trustee. I served in that position until 2000 when I was elected to the State Legislature. In 2005 I ran for Congress and served until 2013. I began teaching at Chatfield College and continue to teach.”
Jean has always been passionate about the rights of the unborn.
She attributes her activism in great part to her mother. “Before Roe. V Wade, abortion was a state by state decision” Jean says “Mom did not want our state legislature to allow abortions and even when I was younger she brought me to our state capital to fight against it.” She says her parents were friends with John and Barbara Wilke and were with them when they started the Right to Life movement in Cincinnati. Jane says her first memory of protesting was in front of Fountain Square in Cincinnati. Jane reflects on the days her mother fought against this injustice even while battling Colon cancer. If her mom felt well enough after chemo treatments she would protest in other areas of Cincinnati. Jane took care of her for almost 8 years until she passed away. She will never ever forget what her mother taught her and her legacy continues on.
Jane was the first state legislator to successfully defund Planned Parenthood. She was President of the Right to Life organization in Cincinnati. In Congress, she was chair of the Pro-Life Woman’s Caucus. “Many times on the House Floor Vice President Mike Pence and I would host an hour talking about the right to life movement. We became friends and I am so glad he is our vice-President.”
Jane was enthusiastic when she told me that she is ready to serve in Columbus for many reasons. She said she wants to help protect life for everyone, the unborn, those at risk, and the elderly. She is committed to finding ways to end abortion.
I am so glad that I happened to run after Jane. Here I was worried that running would make me look like a weirdo when Jane is all about running! Running for office, and literally running in marathons. Washington Post recently compiled a ranking of the most prolific athletes to serve in Government and Jean Schmidt came out on top! from the Washington Post article.
Here is a brief excerpt from that article:“It’s a mind-set,” Schmidt said, just days after completing her 20-somethingth Boston in April. “You just have to roll with it and move forward and always look at the goal. You want to finish the race. You want to win that election.” You can read the rest of the Washington Post article here.
Jean Schmidt is dedicated to her family including her husband of 44 years, their daughter and two grandsons. She is excited about this next season and encourages everyone to go out and vote on March 17th!