“Hillary Clinton 2016!” and “Jeb Bush 2016!” are cries that reverberate around the nation these days – two years before the next presidential election is even set to take place. However, many overlook the reality that mid-term election season is close upon us. Gubernatorial and local elections aren’t as flashy as presidential elections, and they certainly aren’t as well covered by the media. Thus, they may not even seem relevant. However, midterm elections are certainly just as or, arguably, more important than presidential elections. So, in short, why should you vote in this election?
Do you care about marriage equality?
Do you care about women’s health?
Do you care about firearm restrictions?
Do you care about baby seals (aka the environment)?
Do you care about not having to pay to replace a tire because your car got stuck in one of Ohio’s notorious potholes?
I hope you answered ‘yes’ to at least one of the above. (At the very least, I don’t want to waste 60 dollars on a new tire.) Plus, you’re on a liberal arts campus -— there must be something you care about.
All lightheartedness aside, many issues in statewide elections affect college students directly. Let’s chat about women’s health and two of the candidates running for governor. Republican candidate John Kasich has advertised himself as a strong supporter of rape crisis funding and is cracking down on human trafficking. Democratic candidate Ed FitzGerald is “100 percent pro-choice” and has been groundbreaking in advocating for equal pay and a living wage for all families, including better healthcare access. Considering women make up over 50 percent of Ohio’s population, and that 56 percent of Wooster students identify as female according to U.S. News Education 2014, this is very relevant.
For more local elections, we can talk about Ohio’s 16th District – aka Wayne County. Democratic candidate Pete Crossland has a strong focus on job creation to grow the economy, and supports efforts to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour (In comparison, the current minimum wage is $7.95 per hour). He also supports Planned Parenthood – a very touchy subject in Ohio. Meanwhile, Jim Renacci, who currently serves in the House of Representatives, shows strong interest in reducing corporate tax rates that will create a flatter tax code and believes that making healthcare more affordable lies with increasing competition rather than what the current Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) addresses.
Let’s go up a few paragraphs and remember the original question: why should you vote in this election? I have the feeling that one of the issues I mentioned from at least one of the candidates above raised an eyebrow, a comment at Lowry tables or even just a spark of interest. So, my answer: vote because you’re a human being. But only if you’re over the age of 18 and a U.S. citizen. Otherwise, that’s illegal.
Go to www.votewayne.org and check out all the awesome information they list on the candidates, what they stand for and how to vote by Nov. 4. See you downtown!