Political Opposites Find Love At Ohio's Statehouse | WOSU Radio

Political Opposites Find Love At Ohio's Statehouse

Nov 7, 2019

Holly Gross grew up across the pond in England. Her husband Spencer has lived in Ohio his whole life. When it comes to politics, Holly is liberal and Spencer is conservative. Even still, this couple managed to fall in love, and they agree their differences bring them closer together.

In many ways, Holly and Spencer were an unlikely match.

Holly is originally from Nottingham, England. She and her mother emigrated to the United States in 1998, landing in Fort Wayne, Ind.

"We came over with just two suitcases," Holly said.

Holly recently became a U.S. citizen and Spencer asked what that process was like for her. "It was sort of an emotional rollercoaster leading up to it," Holly answered. 

Though she is excited to be a citizen, she was nervous to let go of her homeland.

"England will just always be such a part of me," she said.

As for Spencer, he's always called Ohio home. "I've lived within the same 100 miles my whole life," Spencer said.

Holly and Spencer Gross in front of the Ohio Statehouse on their wedding day.
Credit Rouxby Photography / Gross Family

While Spencer and Holly have many opposing political views, it was their work in politics that brought them together. They met while working as legislative aides in the Ohio House of Representatives.

According to Spencer, people are often baffled by their relationship and ask him how it's possible for a liberal and a conservative to be together.

"I almost kind of like feel bad for people who say that," Spencer said. "Do you really think there's nothing else in life besides your political leanings?"

Spencer and Holly Gross in the House chamber at the Ohio Statehouse on their wedding day.
Credit Rouxby Photography / Gross Family

Holly and Spencer agree that being with a partner from another political party has made them better, more well-rounded people.

"It will be an exciting way to raise kids too," Holly said. "As long as they're both Democrats."

Holly and Spencer Gross were recorded at the StoryCorps booth when it visited Columbus this summerHolly was pregnant at the time and their twins, Brooks Francis and Penelope Evelyn, were born Aug. 16, 2019.

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TRANSCRIPT

Leticia Wiggins, Host: Welcome to StoryCorps Columbus. I'm Leticia Wiggins. StoryCorps is a national nonprofit that collects and preserves stories from across the country and a mobile recording studio, StoryCorps Columbus brings you interviews from central Ohioans who shared their stories during StoryCorps' his recent visit to our city.

Today, a story of love fostered by difference. Holly Gross grew up across the pond in England.

Her husband, Spencer, has lived in Ohio his whole life. When it comes to politics, Holly is liberal, Spencer conservative. Yet this couple managed to fall in love. The two discuss how their differences bring them closer together.

Spencer Gross: Holly, at our wedding, one of the things I talked about was the fact that it was pretty crazy that we would ever even cross paths.

Holly Gross: I'm originally from Nottingham in England and my mom and I emigrated to the United States in 1998. We came on an H1B two-year visa, and we originally came to Fort Wayne, Indiana. We came over with just two suitcases and very recently at a garage sale.

My dad put those suitcases out on the curb and I came and I saw them and I was like, what are you doing? Those are part of our history. They didn't even have wheels on them. They were like the ones that you just pulled, you know?

Spencer Gross: Yeah. So you became a citizen as well? Pretty recently. Yeah. Less than a year ago. What was that experience like?

Holly Gross: It was sort of an emotional roller coaster leading up to it. You know, it's this push and pull of like being really excited to become an American citizen.

But at the same time, we feel this, I don't know, I just always feel like such a draw to England. And the desire to hold on to it. And by becoming a citizen, I was so nervous that I was giving up some of that. I don't know. England's will just always is such a part of me.

Spencer Gross: Are you excited to vote in your first presidential election?

Holly Gross: Oh, yeah. That only if I can thank my candidate.

Spencer Gross: Yeah. So we're kind of on the other side politically of, you know, our separate parties. And one of the things people often ask us when I tell them that is like, whoa. How do you how do you even make that work? How is that possible?

And I almost kind of like feel bad for people that say that because it's like, do you really think that there's nothing else in life besides, like hit your political leanings, like you couldn't possibly like even, like, talk to someone else or, you know, the possibility that marrying someone else of a different political party is like so crazy to you, like you just. That's not something you could do. Like. I think that's kind of sad.

What do you do? You ever get that from people?

Holly Gross: All the time.

Spencer Gross: What do you say?

Holly Gross: Oh, my gosh. It makes for great conversation. Debate? Yeah, I think it makes us both better.

Spencer Gross: I think so, too.

Holly Gross: More well-rounded.

Spencer Gross: I think you learn that you definitely agree on way more things some than are different. Yeah.

Holly Gross: Well, it will be an exciting way to raise kids.

Spencer Gross: Yeah. Yeah.

Holly Gross: As long as they are both Democrats?

Spencer Gross: I might try to lobby them to my side.

Holly Gross: It's begun already.

Holly Gross: One last question. Do you think that we are soulmates?

Spencer Gross: I do think that we are soulmates.

I never I've never left Ohio my whole life. I've lived within the same, you know, 100 miles my entire life. And you having gone from different parts in England to the United States, to so many different parts of the United States, to Columbus to us, then crossing paths and meeting each other and falling in love.

I think we're absolutely soulmates, too.

Holly Gross: I do too. You're the most special person. You are my life. I love you.

Spencer Gross: I love you, too.

Leticia Wiggins, Host: Holly and Spencer Gross were recorded at the StoryCorps booth when it visited Columbus this past summer.

StoryCorps COLUMBUS is a production of WOSU Public Media. It's produced by me Letitia Wiggins and edited by Mike Thompson. Additional Podcast Editing by Michael De Bonis. WOSU's Digital Content Director is Nick Houser. Our Chief Content Director, Arts, Life and Culture is Brent Davis.

Special thanks on this episode to Brent Davis.

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