Home Election 2020 Meet Shelby Hunt, Republican candidate for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District

Meet Shelby Hunt, Republican candidate for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District

26 min read

Shelby Hunt, a former police officer, is a Republican running for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District. He will challenge incumbent Rep. Steve Stivers, also a Republican.

Hunt is running a faith-based campaign as an outsider. He believes that a return to Christian values can help overcome many problems facing Ohio and the country. He has no prior political experience, and he worked as a police officer, a volunteer firefighter, an entrepreneur and for several media outlets. 

Why did you ultimately decide to run in this election? What inspired you to do this? 

There’s a couple of things. The foundational part is I’m an average American of faith, and I felt it was time that more people, like myself, get involved in the political process. And, if I can inspire them to get more involved, then I will consider this a success no matter if I win or not. 

I do think that President (Donald) Trump has made this possible. He has inspired people to be the outsider. 

The second reason that I did it is to be a check on the incumbent. It’s not that I have anything in particular against Rep. Stivers, I appreciate and respect his office and his service, but continuously seeing him unopposed on the ballot sends the message that there’s not any new ideas that are coming into the party. 

The last reason was all of the things that we went through on the impeachment proceedings, and even leading up to that. Another catalyst point was the arrest of Roger Stone. Part of that was I have a law enforcement background. I was a police officer for 12 years, and I can see an abuse of power. And I reached out to all of our representatives, and not being satisfied with the response, or lack of response I was getting from them.” 

Along with faith, what are the biggest issues that you are running on? How do you plan on trying to appeal to citizens of the 15th District? 

The foundation that I go back to each time is my faith, and it’s not only my faith, but to inspire not only the constituents but also the representatives and my fellow public servants, to get back to being a moral and religious people. Our second president, John Adams, had said our constitution was made for a religious and moral people. So, that’s the foundation, because so many of our issues stem from that very simple point. 

Now that’s a long term goal. For short term goals, one of the things that I am particularly passionate about is the cost of health care. Part of that fits right into the faith-based campaign. I was born with pneumonia and required to be in the hospital for an extended period of time. My birth ended up costing (my mother) $50, and it was run through a Catholic hospital. My sister had a high-risk pregnancy, my nephew being born premature. And, the hospital bills were over $100,000. 

Many of our medical systems and health care systems retain some kind of affiliation with a religious institution. I would like to convene those religious institutions and leaders and find out at what point did we change this over to being a corporatized model, and if there’s a way we can get back to where these churches and religious institutions have more direct control of our health care system, with the goal being to expand access and reduce cost. 

I would also like to do the same thing with colleges and universities that have their own medical systems, to reach out and get them to go back to philanthropic health care rather than profit-motivated health care. 

Another one is that I am not a professional politician, and I don’t plan to be. 

Do you think it matters that you’ve had no previous experience in politics? 

Obviously experience matters, but what I am learning through this is that — what I feel is unfortunate — is that you really have to plan to become a professional politician. And, that’s not what our founding fathers had intended. For many of them, it was a civic duty to serve in the public sector but then to go back into your private life. We’ve made the process so cumbersome. 

People have told me I should have been planning to do this for three years. That is what I think is part of the problem. You are grooming people to be professional politicians. That becomes the goal — not to actually serve and get things done. 

People obviously have dramatically different opinions on the president, but he is an inspiration to show that an outsider businessman that didn’t have political experience can make a difference. 

Is there anything about Stivers or his policies, aside from the fact that he could be viewed as this professional politician role that you are against, that you are going to campaign against? Or are you just going to focus on yourself and your own policies? 

It’s a great question, because the political pundits will say to go negative because negative works. And the foundation of what I’m talking about is to be moral, and that would make me a hypocrite. I’m not here to tear someone down; I’m here to talk about what makes us different. My platform will either appeal to you, or it won’t. And, I’m OK with that. I know this message won’t appeal to everyone, and they have the choice to make. 

There’s nothing I’m going to attack him on, I’m just going to concentrate on what I have to offer and the areas I think need to be addressed. 

What is your immigration policy?

My grandparents on my mother’s side came from Mexico. But the process that they went through was very thorough and really made them learn what it was to become an American citizen. While they always retained a sense of pride for their heritage, they always stressed to me that we were Americans. 

We need to continue to enforce those types of laws that make it a privilege to come to this country so that people that are coming in have an appreciation for what it means to become an American citizen. 

There’s a lot of debate going on with policies like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), and whether or not there should be a border wall. Are there any details related to immigration that you are a big proponent of or really against? 

I do support securing the southern border. It’s getting done slowly. I think that there’s other ways it could have been done. There could have been the calling up of the army corps of engineers to build the wall. That’s well within the bounds of the executive branch. On DACA, it’s unfortunate, but arrangements should be made to have those children sent back to some kind of relative to take care of them. I’m not saying we abandon these children — the parents committed the crime. Unfortunately, the children are the victims. But again, the rule of law needs to stand. 

It’s another phenomena that’s happening across the country. Not only with this. You have these sanctuary cities. When you start to have this break down in the rule of law, where people and organizations and institutions are going to say “we’re not recognizing the established law,” then it’s gonna start breaking down on all sides. We need to take that into consideration when it comes to this immigration issue, and we need to abide with the standing laws that we’ve had. 

What is your stance on gun control? 

I am fully in support of the Second Amendment as it’s enumerated in the constitution, that the government shall make no law to infringe the rights of the citizens to own a firearm. It’s really as simple as that. 

I know there’s more pieces to it because of the gun violence and the mass shooting events, and I have to go back to what the core of my message is. This is another issue of a symptom of a society that has lost its bearings from a moral and religious standpoint. 

From a more practical, pragmatic standpoint, there’s also some connections, many of these mass shooters have been linked to being on some type of antidepressant or some kind of psychotropic drug. I think that needs to be investigated further — what the links are between that  and these types of mass shooting incidents. 

I heard this said in some of the debates on the Democratic side, in some of the presidential debates. Joe Biden was talking about going after the gun manufacturers and the ammunition and weaponries manufacturers. And, they do have a level of protection, that’s part of the commerce clause. 

Blaming the manufacturer does not make them liable for the actions of what the user was. You could make the same argument for someone who stabbed someone. It’s not the knife manufacturer’s intention that someone goes out and uses their instrument to go out and kill someone. The same argument could be made with automobile manufacturers. Are they going to be held liable for someone that gets drunk and goes behind the wheel? 

Do you have any strong stances on economic policies? 

It’s a broad subject, but to drill it down into a couple points — one is to have an Ohio or U.S. first policy, along the lines of what President Trump has been trying to achieve. It comes to an argument of globalism versus nationalism, so you see here as demonstrated with this coronavirus, the president’s stance is correct in that an issue that happens in China negatively impacts us because we are not producing our own resources. So, it’s not that I’m for trade, and I definitely am and support these different trade packages that the president has been able to get together and I do feel that Ohio will benefit from. 

If more things were produced in this country, then we wouldn’t have been nearly as impacted as when something happens that we have relatively no control over in another part of the world. 

A big one is to try and get spending under control. Similar to my opponent, I stress for a balanced budget amendment. Now going along that line, I don’t know all of his stances, one of mine would be eliminating a lot of different either federal agencies or number of staff within those agencies. 

Do you have any ideas regarding what your foreign policy would be? 

I have a non-interventionist bent. I would put myself in the lane of Ron Paul and Rand Paul’s thinking on foreign policy. With credit to the president, he’s not quite as aligned with them, I appreciate he has not gotten us into another full scale conflict or nation building situation like previous administrations. 

(President Barack) Obama had run on getting us out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and that didn’t happen. And, (former President) George Bush ran on a non-interventionist platform, and then he ended up getting us into two protracted engagements. So, I do applaud the president for not getting us involved that deeply. 

What’s your stance on abortion? 

I’m 100% pro-life. But as I have said, the only circumstance that I can ever foresee is to protect the life of the mother. While I would not make that decision, I could understand someone that would choose the life of the mother over the life of the child. While I don’t condone it, I understand it. 

A loved one who was in that circumstance — that was one of the choices. Thankfully, her prayers were answered and that didn’t have to happen, and the baby was born and everything was OK. But again, outside of that, I believe that life begins at conception.  

What is your stance on LGBTQ rights? 

When it comes to the LGBTQ community, I think there’s a tendency that we continue to put people in race or class specific groups, and then we begin to tailor laws around those particular groups. 

I bring it back to the core foundation. The further we get away from basic morals and ethics, the more we have to try and legislate people and their actions, and that starts to give government more and more control instead of having less individual liberty. 

When it comes to the issue of marriage, that would relate to that. I didn’t have a problem with civil unions, because that is not a religiously based institution. There was already a remedy there. I think that was a problem just waiting to happen, and I support traditional marriage as it’s defined in our constitution. 

On your website, you have a list of certain news outlets that you consider trustworthy. What is it about them that you believe makes them reliable as compared to more mainstream news outlets? 

Those are some of the different sources that I look to. A lot of news is news commentary. But, if you look at the mainstream news, there has been numerous misrepresentations that they do not get called out on, or they just go on and make a short apology and they don’t get censored like some of these that I have listed. There is a double standard that is pervasive.

When the president says these things, that it’s fake news, yes they may be bombastic, but there is truth to it. Because whether people want to recognize it or not, there tends to be a leftist media bias. 

Why do you think you are the right person to represent the 15th District? 

If you’re looking for the establishment, I’m not your candidate. But, if you’re looking for an outsider that’s going to go in there and try and get things done, then I am your candidate.  

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