By Tammy Watts
GREENVILLE — The Darke County Republican Women’s Club held its monthly meeting on May 9, welcoming guest speaker, State Rep. Jennifer Gross (OH-52). Gross, a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, is a nurse practitioner and served as a sub-investigator for Operation WARP Speed, developing treatments to fight COVID-19.
Gross spoke of her recent experiences at the State House, as well as key pending legislation. She sponsored HB 248, the Vaccine Choice Anti-Discrimination Act, which drew criticism in some circles, and caused her to be labeled as an “anti-vaxxer” — a term Gross rejects as derogatory and inaccurate.
“I sponsored this bill not because I’m anti-vaccine, but because I stand for your liberty,” Gross explained. She also shared insights into Operation WARP Speed, and was particularly concerned that COVID-19 vaccines were promoted as safe for pregnant women. “We don’t experiment on pregnant women with unknown vaccines,” she stated, adding that no expectant mothers participated in clinical trials; furthermore, women participants agreed not to become pregnant for at least 90 days after the vaccine was administered.
Gross was subsequently removed from the Ohio House Health Committee, despite being its only Republican health care provider.
Gross does not want HB 248 to define her, however, as there are many issues about which she is passionate. She is sponsoring HB 234, to repeal Ohio’s Commercial Activity Tax (CAT), in order to help small businesses, and speed Ohio’s economic recovery. She is staunchly pro-life, having sponsored HR 132, marking a “Day of Tears,” on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and co-sponsored SB 157, the Born Alive Protection Act.
Additionally, Gross favors forensic auditing to ensure election integrity. “Twenty to 30 million dollars are going to be spent for this upcoming August election; a forensic audit costs a couple million, to make sure your votes count,” she said.
Gross has been frustrated with the inability of Ohio’s legislature to act on important issues. “Kentucky banned abortion after 15 weeks, and protected girls’ sports, all in one day, and they have a Democratic governor,” she stated. While a court injunction has temporarily blocked enforcement of of the abortion ban, the Kentucky legislature’s override of Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes is significant.
Citing another barrier to effectiveness as a legislative body, Gross said, “we’re so polarized.” She recalled her time as an Air Force nurse in Germany, awaiting casualties from the Battle of Mogadishu, made famous by the movie, “Black Hawk Down.” The other nurse on duty, was someone with whom she had little in common, yet they worked cohesively to treat the wounded. “I love her to this day,” she stated. While it should be taken for granted that individuals would put aside differences in such dire circumstances, Gross is concerned the nation is becoming so divided that people can no longer work together.
Gross remains hopeful, however, and pledges to keep fighting for her constituents, and the state of Ohio. “My job is to stand and be counted; my job is to stand and be canceled, if it comes to that,” she reiterated, quoting her favorite Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 3:17: “…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
DCRWC is chartered by the National Federation of Republican Women and is a member of the Ohio Federation of Republican Women. For more information, visit www.darkegop.org/womens-club.html or email President Jaime LeVeck at: [email protected]
Contact Daily Advocate Reporter Tammy Watts at [email protected]