man in suit in front of U.S. and Ohio flags

U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio)

I thought I’d take a second to tell you how I got here.

There’s so much to tell, and I want all of you to know why I am so determined to fight for the forgotten men and women of this country.

Let me give you the Sparknotes version of my Hillbilly Elegy.

My sister Lindsay and I grew up in the manufacturing town of Middletown, Ohio. We grew up in a dysfunctional house without a constant father figure.

My mother struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.

I recall an episode when I was eleven when my mother and I got in a heated argument and I climbed into the back of the car. She eventually pulled over, I got out of the car, and she chased me across a field.

The drama and family turbulence was nonstop.

My sister and I eventually moved in with my grandparents – Mamaw and Papaw. She and Papaw were, without question or qualification, the best things that ever happened to me. 

They spent the last two decades of their lives showing me the value of love and stability and teaching me the life lessons that most people learn from their parents.

Both did their part to ensure that I had the self-confidence and the right opportunities to get a fair shot at the American Dream.

After high school, I decided to enlist in the Marine Corps. I served in the Iraq War performing public-affairs activities.

I served for four years before returning home to Ohio, where I became a first-generation college graduate at the Ohio State University.

I then went on to attend Yale Law School, where I met the love of my life, Usha. She showed me kindness and patience, all while guiding me through the trauma and baggage I held onto from my childhood.

We married in 2014 and now have three beautiful children together.

After the success of my book, I began working to fiercely defend working-class Americans against the media and political elite who have ignored us for so long.

I’ve seen too many lives devastated by job loss, addiction, and economic turmoil to stay silent. All of this brought me to where I am right now – serving as your Senator.

I think so many politicians are lost in the establishment. They fail their constituents, their country, and ultimately – they fail themselves.

It’s an industry of broken promises and corrupt practices. But I will never stoop to that level.

My roots – my family – my hometown – are what got me here — the good and the bad.

I will never let you down or leave you behind.

The Senate needs leaders who know what it’s like to live in a left-behind community, leaders who will fight for what’s best for the people. Leaders who will fight for our country.

I’m honored to be doing just that for you today.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read.

God bless,

J.D. Vance