When Vogue did a piece on Jon Ossoff, it obsessed over his charisma and good looks and relished in comparing Georgia’s Democratic senatorial candidate to King Arthur and the Kennedys. Jon Ossoff nearly won a special election to clinch a spot in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017 — the most expensive race in U.S. House history according to Ballotpedia. Now, the 33-year-old is running on a progressive platform that includes raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour and providing $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks. He may well become the youngest member of the U.S. Senate and, per Washington Monthly, “its only millennial.”
Like King Arthur and the Kennedys, Ossoff comes from money. How much is uncertain, but you do the math. He attended Paideia High School in Atlanta, an elite school that currently charges parents more than $27,000 per year in tuition. And, per The New York Times, his father owns a Capitol Hill townhouse that Ossoff used while working for Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson in his early twenties. The Washington Post‘s investigation suggested that Ossoff inherited a large quantity of money from his grandfather, who co-owned a leather factory based in Massachusetts. Ossoff loaned part of this inheritance — more than $250,000 — to Insight TWI, a media production company which produces documentaries, becoming its CEO when he was only 26. Ballotpedia says he recently loaned his own campaign $450,000, too. Ossoff is now worth somewhere between $2.3 and $8.8 million, according to his personal financial disclosure form.
But what should onlookers know about the aspiring senator’s personal and political background?
Is Jon Ossof Superman?
You would be forgiven for mistaking Jon Ossoff with Clark Kent. He’s a Star Wars geek, or at least he dressed up as Han Solo in college. He is married to Dr. Alisha Kramer, an OB/GYN who many would consider to be his high school sweetheart. After all, according to Intelligencer‘s calculations, Kramer and Ossoff have been in a relationship since around 2005, when Ossoff would have been around 18 years old.
And then there’s his athleticism and his smarts. At 17, he interned for the late Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis. Lewis, in turn, endorsed Ossof in a campaign ad, during which he told Ossoff, “You remind me of another time in my own life.” While Ossoff was at Georgetown getting his bachelor’s, he was also working for Congressman Hank Johnson, and apparently advising him on issues of national security. Johnson told Intelligencer that, despite his youth, Ossoff’s “level of influence and his level of work in the office probably exceed what he has written on his bio because he and I have just been so very close.”
In his spare time, writes The New York Times, Ossoff got a pilot license and sang a cappella. (He also has a fishing and hunting license.) While at The London School of Economics acquiring his masters, Ossoff played third base for the British Baseball Federation’s South London Pirates. His current media company has produced Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentaries. In short, there seems to be little Ossoff cannot achieve.
Jon Ossoff's commitment to civil rights
In a letter to “The Jewish Community” for the Atlanta Jewish Times, Jon Ossoff writes that he is “descended from Ashkenazi immigrants who fled pogroms at the turn of the 20th century” and was “raised among relatives who survived the Shoah.” It is this upbringing that “instilled in me a conviction to fight for the marginalized, the persecuted and the dispossessed.” His platform, which advocates for a new civil rights act, largely reflects this commitment. So too does his work as CEO of Insight TWI, overseeing hard-hitting films exposing corruption, one of which helped lead to the suspension of seven of Ghana’s High Court Judges, and another which helped suspend 61 FIFA referees implicated in soccer-related misconduct (via The Washington Post).
Beyond political campaign ads, it’s hard to find someone who has something negative to say about Ossoff. On the contrary, the Democratic candidate for senate seems to consistently cause overwhelmingly positive impressions, even against the odds. It was, for example, a young Ossoff that Congressman Hank Johnson sent to vet his first chief of staff, Daraka Satcher. Satcher recounted to The New York Times that, upon meeting Ossoff, he was put off by his youth, but “by the end of that lunch I was so impressed with him and his knowledge about policy and politics and his insight that it made me want to help the campaign even more … I went from being offended to overly impressed.” That seems to summarize the overwhelming general consensus quite nicely.
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