ASU nursing professor Heather Ross announced her candidacy last year for Arizona's 6th Congressional District, chasing the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Rep. David Schweikert (R-Fountain Hills).
Ross is an assistant clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at ASU. Before teaching, she was a cardiology nurse practitioner and still practices one day a week. She's also worked as a public health consultant, which she thinks would help her in Congress.
"We need more women, more teachers, more healthcare providers and more scientists in office, and I am all of those things," Ross said.
Nursing senior Zia Tyree met Ross at a professional networking event for nurses.
"Everyone in the nursing community knows each other," Tyree said. "I got to know her and her platform."
Tyree believes Ross's experience would help her as an elected official.
"If you want people to be informed about healthcare and insurance ... you have to have someone who has worked in it first-hand," Tyree said. "Just as you want businesspeople on Wall Street and financial officers advocating for economics, you should have someone who works in healthcare advocating for healthcare policy.”
One of Ross's main platforms is universal healthcare coverage, though according to her campaign website she feels there isn't one single fix for the American healthcare system.
"Every single American should have access to high-quality healthcare," Ross said. "Right now, it's too expensive and we don't have the best outcomes."
She said she hopes to represent Americans who fall in between the increasingly polarized political parties.
"The way that our two major parties are operating right now are moving out to the fringes and leaving a majority of Americans unrepresented," Ross said. "I'm interested in representing everyone's shared values."
Councilwoman Kate Gallego, who has served on the Phoenix City Council since 2013, said she endorsed Ross because of her credentials and policies.
"I think (Ross) is a great match for the congressional seat," Gallego said. "She has the academic background and solution-oriented focus we need in D.C."
Ross said she wants to bring what she has learned as an ASU professor into office.
"We are not an ivory tower, we are part of the community," Ross said. "As a nurse and a teacher, my objective has always been to serve the community. It makes me proud to be a part of ASU and to be running for Congress."
The primary election for Arizona's 6th Congressional District will be held on Aug. 28.