WOMEN
10/19/2012 11:39 am ET

Joyce Healy-Abrams, House Candidate From Ohio, On Motherhood, The Jobs Crisis And 'Breaking Glass Ceilings'

Joyce Healy-Abrams, a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives from Ohio, received her Bachelor's from Capital University in Columbus and her Master's in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. According to her website, she has served with a number of Ohio non-profit organizations committed to arts and education, men and women's health care, and children with special needs.

In anticipation of the November 6 congressional elections, HuffPost Women caught up with her about who she is, why she's running and how to get involved with her campaign.

What's your favorite quality in another person?
Honesty.

What three words best describe you?
Integrity. Perseverance. Empathetic.

What's your biggest flaw?
I get too personally involved, in everything. This has served me really well in my life and running my business. But at times you just can't do everything.

What failure are you most grateful for?
I don't like to think about life in terms of "failures." I've faced many challenges throughout my life: as a mother, in business, in love. But I've always learned life's lessons from these challenges and I'm grateful for those experiences.

If you weren't you, who would you be?
Rosa Parks. I love how she stood up for her rights and others. Or Maya Angelou, because of the way she gets people to reach down into their souls, to look within, and awaken things inside of you that you may not have realized were there.

If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
Home. Wherever home is with my family. Right now it's Canton, Ohio -- where I was born and raised and where my family has lived for generations. I love and respect my community.

What woman do you most look up to?
I look up to all the women who lead the way for women's rights, equal pay for equal work, access to birth control, and the women who enabled my generation to have a voice. People like Lilly Ledbetter or Hillary Clinton or the many leaders before them. If I had to pick just one, I'd pick my grandmother who was a single parent raising three children in the 1930's. She worked at Union Metal here in Canton, Ohio. She was the head of the household and when she was being discriminated against in the workplace, she fought back with the support of the union that she joined and saved her job. She did this so that her children could have a better life. I can't imagine how hard that was back then.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?
One of the things I've learned is that we sometimes have experiences in our lives that can be truly negative and detrimental. But I've realized that we must find the positive in those situations. I live my life as an optimist.

What's your joy trigger?
My daughter. Being a mother. It's my joy trigger and also my worry trigger!

What is your favorite book?
"The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God's Call to Justice" By Mark Labberton.

What is your favorite album?
Peter Frampton's "Comes Alive."

Where did you have the best meal of your life?
In the backyard with my family. We barbecue in the summers after long winters. There's nothing better than a backyard BBQ!

What is your favorite thing you've ever worn and why?
My wedding ring is very sentimental to me. My husband Jeff worked so hard for it and I appreciate it every day.

What talent do you wish you had?
I wish I was proficient in another language.

What quality or accomplishment do you want people to know you for?
Affecting positive change in the lives of others. I've always tried to do this through community service and serving on the boards of the non-profits I've worked with over the years.

What makes you feel the most free?
Meditation, prayer, and relaxation.

Why are you running?
Partisan politics has outlived its usefulness and I fundamentally believe that Congress is broken. It is dysfunctional and we are seeing our representatives putting partisan politics and special interest needs ahead of Ohio's families. In recent years, I've seen the economic crunch on the middle class and saw middle-class families struggle to secure jobs, keep jobs and manage household budgets. I decided to run not so much due to a particular issue but more in opposition to a trend. There are challenges facing the middle class and what is happening here, it just felt unjust; I hit my tipping point.

As the only woman running to represent Ohio’s 7th Congressional District, I'm running to stand up for women of all ages and for Ohio's struggling families. I'm building a strong, grassroots campaign to offer Ohioans an alternative to Congressman Bob Gibbs’ politically extreme voting agenda. I believe what Washington needs most is to bring all sides together so we can create jobs and a strong economy here in Ohio. As a successful entrepreneur and small businesswoman, I know what it takes to solve tough problems and create Ohio jobs. I will take this experience with me to Congress.

What is the most important issue for women in this election?
As a businesswoman and mother I know the challenges women face today. The first in my family to graduate from college, and then working my way through graduate school, I know something about breaking glass ceilings in my own life and I’ve worked hard to give back as much as I can to future generations of women. The most important thing for women to do in this election is to get out there, get educated on the issues affecting them (like healthcare choices) and vote. Take your concerns to the voting booth and make sure you're voting for your best interests.

How can readers get involved in your campaign?
Please visit my website: www.healyabramsforcongress.com
I've also written a very detailed jobs plan, with many ideas for my district, that anyone can read at: www.joyceforjobs.com
And stay updated with daily news, photos, and videos, by visiting: www.facebook.com/joyceforohio

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