Tristan Rader, a Lakewood city councilman, filed petitions today to run for U.S. Congress.
“In my day job, we empower people to become more independent from big corporate utilities, using solar power that they own,” says Rader. “That’s the kind of public service we need from elected leaders also—taking on the big special interests so that working people have more power.”
Rader, 34, has helped households and communities throughout Ohio develop energy independence, in his work for nonprofit Solar United Neighbors. He is also in his fifth year representing all of Lakewood as an at-large city council member.
In local government Rader has been hands-on, responding to residents on small issues and big issues, alike. Rader says that he is proud of accomplishments including improved public-records access, and a new city park which residents had sought for years. But affordability has been and remains a major theme, he says.
“We want our community to be welcoming and inclusive, and that’s only possible if it’s affordable. I have championed an affordable housing strategy to help seniors and working families stay here. We have kept the city’s budget balanced while investing in infrastructure, and even reduced a scheduled increase in water rates.”
“Cost of living has to be a priority at other levels of government, too,” says Rader.
Although Friday is Ohio’s filing deadline for Congressional candidates, redistricting remains incomplete, a situation which Rader says complicates things—“But I wouldn’t run for U.S. House at all if making things easy for myself was a requirement,” he adds.
Raised in the City of Lorain, Rader maintains many ties in the area, and says the possibility of a new west side district including Lorain County was a major inspiration for planning a campaign this year.
“We simply don’t know where the district lines will end up, but the filing deadline hasn’t moved. Our west side communities have been split into other districts for years, and someone needs to file here in the event we get the better districts which voters demanded,” he says. “If one of the proposals bringing us together with Lorain County is chosen, all the better. I would love to work for the neighbors I grew up around, just as much as for Lakewood and the west side.”
Ohio’s eventual districts will present realities for every serious candidate to consider, and Rader says he is prepared to go forward despite uncertainty.
“Candidates can do our part, at least, so that voters aren’t completely left in the dark—we can be as transparent as possible. Above all, I’m running to represent working families, which is one reason that if Lakewood is drawn into a final district with Cleveland, I will absolutely support Nina Turner. We have been friends for many years, and she has always looked out for everyday people. What promotes their interest best is priority one, for me.”
Rader has called Northeast Ohio home all his life, from childhood through college, to Lakewood where he has lives with his wife Caitlin. Rader first ran for office in 2017, challenging and finishing ahead of a full slate of city council incumbents; voters endorsed his work on council with reelection in 2021.
Rader has filed petitions in Ohio’s Democratic primary, scheduled for May 3.