Despite considering himself politically active and engaged, Bernie Moreno says he never thought he would run for public office.
That changed last week when the Cleveland-area businessman and dealership owner launched his bid for a seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Rob Portman in 2022.
With 30-plus years of experience in the auto industry, Moreno said if elected he'll work to ensure public policy and regulation create an environment for businesses to grow.
Moreno joins a crowded field of candidates vying for the GOP nomination to represent Ohio. His challengers include former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken and former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.
"Businesspeople weigh risk, reward, benefit implications: If this happens, what are the possible consequences of my decision?" Moreno, 54, told Automotive News. "As a car dealer, having to live through that, you have to make these economic decisions every day."
The Bogota, Colombia, native said a "deep concern" about the direction of the country prompted him to enter the race.
By running for office, he plans to "stop socialism in its tracks," while defending the legacy of former President Donald Trump.
His campaign platform includes support for term limits and firm action on China as well as a commitment to not accept corporate political action committee, or PAC, money.
Moreno said he wants to bring the perspective of entrepreneurs and businesspeople, including auto dealers, to Capitol Hill. That perspective includes sustaining a fair playing field for businesses and ensuring vehicle safety and emissions regulations are "reasonably attainable."
"The idea that you say, OK, tomorrow every car you make has to be electric — that's just not feasible in a capital-intensive business like the auto industry," Moreno said. "We have to make certain that we have a mix of reality with the theory of good public policy."