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Dr. Amy Acton announces she will not run for Senate seat in 2022

The former Ohio Department of Health director has been exploring the option of running for the Sen. Rob Portman's seat.
Credit: Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Former Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton has announced she will not be running for one of Ohio’s U.S. Senate seats in 2022.

Dr. Acton, who became the face of Ohio's early pandemic response, had been exploring the option to run for Sen. Rob Portman's seat after he announced he would not be seeking reelection.

In her statement released Tuesday, Dr. Acton said it was a tremendous honor to be asked to consider running and was grateful for the support she received from her fellow Ohioans.

"While I am not entering the race for U.S. Senate, I recognize there is a genuine longing for a fresh approach to leadership that is honest, collaborative, and empowering," she said.

While she did not give an exact reason for her decision, Dr. Acton called on Ohioans not to accept anything less from elected officials as their words and actions matter, adding "we must set the bar higher."

Dr. Acton, who was appointed health director by Gov. Mike DeWine in Feb. 2019, joined the governor for his daily briefings updating the paramedic in the early months.

She then resigned in June 2020. Dr. Acton would stay on an advisor with the governor for a short time and she returned to work with the Columbus Foundation.

In February of this year, Dr. Acton announced she would be leaving the foundation to look into running as a Democrat for the Senate seat.

Below is Dr. Acton's full statement:

It has been a tremendous honor to be asked to consider a run for the U.S. Senate. Like many of you, I have a profound reverence for the office, and for those who have answered the calling to public service. As such, I have given it my most thoughtful and deliberate consideration.

Please know I am deeply grateful for the outpouring of support from my fellow Ohioans, and from across the country. I especially wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to all who have worked quietly behind the scenes to help me consider this path.

While I am not entering the race for U.S. Senate, I recognize there is a genuine longing for a fresh approach to leadership that is honest, collaborative, and empowering.

Ohioans - do not accept anything less from your elected officials. Our leaders’ words and actions matter. We must set the bar higher.

Yet this moment in history calls on all of us, regardless of our politics, to address the pressing issues facing our families and communities. In the wake of the economic, racial, and health crises of 2020, what is at stake is nothing less than the heart and soul of our country. What kind of nation do we aspire to co-create? We must recognize the opportunity inherent in our mutual vulnerability, our undeniable interdependence, and our shared humanity.

Let our future honor the dignity of true public service and citizenship. I know many of us are tired of the vitriol and hate. We are weary from the battle. No one has gone untouched and much has been exposed and revealed. Yet as we cautiously re-emerge this spring, we dare to hope that a new way is possible. The opportunity for repairing and reimagining is at hand: a rebirth for ourselves, our relationships, and for the institutions of our civil society. What happens next isn’t the sole province of our elected officials. It is up to all of us. We must co-create an Ohio that ensures the enduring cultural values of kindness and justice for all.

Ohioans, it has been my privilege to witness your courage, determination, and resiliency. And your heartfelt compassion. Don’t stop now. The leader we all wish we had is YOU. In all walks of civic life, we will demand equality of voice and representation. We will empower our citizens to vote and participate in community institutions by breaking down the barriers that block them. And we will build bridges across our differences and divides.

We will inspire a culture of commitment to one another.

Together, may we act on kindness, not fear. Love, not hate.

Dr. Amy Acton