ST. JOSEPH — A St. Joseph doctor has announced her candidacy for the 6th Congressional District.

Sherry O’Donnell, R-St. Joseph, officially launches her campaign at 6 p.m. Friday at the Lincoln Township Community Center, where she will be among a handful of primary challengers to U.S. Rep. Fred Upton.

O’Donnell is a doctor of osteopathy and the owner of Rappha Medical Center in St. Joseph, who has ran several medical missions to disaster areas – both internationally and abroad. During the spring of 2020, O’Donnell worked nine weekends in New York City Health & Hospitals. Most recently, she was in Haiti, responding to victims of the recent earthquake.

The doctor said she felt the country is heading in the wrong direction.

“I don’t like (that) rights are being taken from us,” O’Donnell said. “So many things are being mandated at us and to us, and so many things are not consistent with what even the Constitution says.”

O’Donnell criticized the COVID-19 restrictions in an interview with The Herald-Palladium, saying they lacked common sense. O’Donnell claimed the country should have never shut down and that it did not prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, she said she was opposed to vaccine mandates. She also criticized the current administration’s handling of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“My heart is (the) for hurting people and broken people internationally, so it’s not that I don’t want anybody else in our country, and I don’t want to help those that need help,” O’Donnell said. “But I’ve been to (34) different countries and every single time, I’ve gone overseas, I’ve needed to do it legally.”

The doctor was also wary of corporations, as she said “Big Tech companies” are censoring people unfairly and large pharmaceutical companies were charging too high of prices.

O’Donnell said Upton, R-St. Joseph, has been in politics for too long and is out of touch with what constituents want. Upton has not yet announced if he will run for a 19th term in Congress.

State Rep. Steve Carra made headlines in September for receiving former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Upton’s camp described the endorsement as a move to trim down the candidate field, however, O’Donnell said she is undeterred.

“That doesn’t daunt me at all,” O’Donnell said.

Michigan’s 6th Congressional District – which has been a Republican stronghold for decades – includes all of Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties and most of Allegan County.

Contact: jknot@TheHP.com, 932-0360, Twitter: @knotjuliana