Desiree Tims Talks to WYSO About Her Congressional Campaign
Desiree Tims is a West Dayton native who earned a law degree at Georgetown and worked on Capitol Hill. Now, she’s back home and trying to unseat Republican Congressman Mike Turner, who was first elected to Congress in 2002. Tims tells WYSO’s Jason Reynolds that she’s proud of her roots and ready to represent the working people of Ohio in Washington, DC.
TIMS: I’m running for congress because it’s time to have some much needed change… My grandfather was a sharecropper in the deep South. He migrated to Southwest Oho in the late 1940s, and on a first grade education was able to climb his way to the middle class. Today, when I look around and talk to my neighbors, I know people with graduate degrees who can’t climb their way to the middle class. So, I’m running for Congress to bring fresh eyes, fresh visions, and the voices of the people of the Miami Valley with me to the halls of congress as we usher in policies that will really change lives.
REYNOLDS: Can you give me one example of something you’re really after? What would you be pumping for on day one?
TIMS: So, now we have COVID, so things have changed a bit. Day one, what we need is paid sick days. Day two, we need to end gun violence. Day three, we need to usher in a transformative, big, bold jobs and infrastructure package so we can rebuild our country from the Miami Valley out.
REYNOLDS: It seems like every time I see a TV, I see an attack ad by your opponent, Republican incumbent Mike Turner. He calls you “DC Desiree” and paints a picture of you as an outsider with outside money trying to steal a congressional seat. I’m curious what your reaction was when you first saw that, and what your response is to it.
TIMS: I thought it was bizarre. Unlike Mike Turner, I haven’t taken a dime of corporate PAC money. I was born and raised in West Dayton. I’m a proud graduate of Dunbar High School—Go Big Blue! So, I am an Ohio girl, a Midwestern girl through-and-through. And I’m proud of it. I’m proud of my roots. I’m proud of my story. And I stand on the shoulders of giants. I stand on the shoulders of Civil Rights Leaders. I stand on the shoulders of so many women who have blazed a trail for me. I’m excited, and I’m spreading the message of change, of hope, of building a bigger table so that the average American can have a seat at the table.
REYNOLDS: It feels like you really have your finger on the pulse of Dayton and its suburbs. You’re from West Dayton. I see you out in the city at events and campaigning. And yet Congressional District 10 is so big! What is it like campaigning for small towns and rural areas? And how is your message being received out there?
TIMS: One of the things that some people know about me, but maybe most people don’t know, is that when I worked on Capitol Hill, my latter time there, I worked on the Senate Agriculture Committee for Farmers—talking milk pricing, talking about our soybeans and our crops and our trades, and how farmers—family farmers—are getting screwed. They are getting the short end of the stick. Big Ag is buying them out. Big Ag is gobbling them up. And we need to make sure that we can create an economy that is sustainable for our family farmers so millennials and Gen Z can continue the tradition of farming and farming practices.
There are so many issues at stake, and so I’m lucky and blessed to be able to travel Greene County and parts of Fayette County and Montgomery County to talk to all kinds of people, to hear their stories, and it really has become a full circle for me as a former policy staffer.
REYNOLDS: I’ve covered protests in front of Mike Turner’s office before. If I’m not mistaken, you spoke at least once—on the eve of the Trump impeachment vote—and I’m curious if you think Congressman Turner isn’t listening to his constituents. I also wonder what you would do differently to make sure you are available and you’re doing what the people want—not what donors or lobbyists want.
TIMS: Unlike Mike Turner, I have committed to hosting quarterly town halls, and I’ll hold those town halls and those conversations in the reddest parts of the district. Because part of being a leader is being able to come to the table and have difficult conversations. Unfortunately, we have not been able to have somebody who has those ideals.
I am not going to check every single box, and I don’t think any elected official or politician will check every single box, but I hope people understand and realize that I’m fighting for them, and that’s the difference. I’ll be accessible. I’ll hold open office hours. I hold town halls. And I’ll have conversations with the people, because that’s why I’m doing this. I’m fighting for the people.