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Stephanie Fox, Survivor Of Spousal Abuse And Victims' Rights Advocate, To Run For Congress

BRENTWOOD, Pa. (KDKA) - A fourth candidate has entered the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, who is retiring at the end of 2022.

Democrat Stephanie Fox brings a unique perspective to this race for Congress.

After 28 years in office, Doyle's retirement brings a rare opportunity for an open seat, and even though we're not quite sure what the congressional district's final borders will look like, candidates have been lining up for months.

Move over Pitt law professor Jerry Dickinson, state Rep. Summer Lee and Pittsburgh attorney and activist Steve Irwin. There's another Democrat in the race: former Brentwood councilwoman and Center for Victims advocate Stephanie Fox.

"I am the only mother in the race," Fox told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. "I'm the only South Hills candidate in the race. I am the only professional advocate who has been out there for a living in the trauma field, so I understand fully trauma, depression, anxiety, mental illness and everything that comes with that component."

WATCH: KDKA's Jon Delano reports

Fox herself is a survivor of domestic spousal abuse, who rebuilt her life and her kids to become an outspoken advocate for others in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.

"I know all too well what it's like to be beaten, to be homeless. I've been homeless more than once. I've come out of a shelter twice. I've lived in a car and parking lot and in a van with my children. I've been without. I know what it's like and takes to come back from a setback like that," says Fox.

Fox says Congress needs someone with her background and experience at the Center for Victims listening to others and rebuilding lives.

"I have done this for years. I have rebuilt people and communities with a driven successful track record. And that's what we need to see. We need to see someone out there, saying, 'hey, there are inequalities out there. We can do this better.' But I have a proven track record of working without division to get things done," she says.

On the abortion issue, Fox says she is pro-choice.

"I have been sexually assaulted myself, so I will never tell another woman what she can and cannot do with her body," she says.

But the mother of four -- two girls and two boys -- says more needs to be done to help women who choose to have a baby.

WATCH: Full Interview

"We need to back up the choices women make when they choose to keep the child with a future, with more education, with support, with health care, long-term care, and a game plan."

Fox says she supports the Second Amendment but more can be done to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental issues.

"I believe in stronger checks and background checks. I believe in stronger legalities when it comes to gun control," she says.

In a race that already features a Bernie Sanders-style socialist and more traditional and moderate Democrats, Fox refuses to label herself except to say she's from a military, pro-union, working class family in the Bob Casey, Teddy Kennedy tradition.

The primary is May 17.

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