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Democratic Congressional candidates emphasize college affordability, job market

Joyce Beatty, Priscilla Tyson and Ted Celeste, were at a Democratic debate hosted by the College Democrats at OSU. They are all running for the Democrat nomination for the 3rd Congressional District of Ohio.

Three of the four Democratic candidates vying for Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District stopped by Ohio State’s campus to take part in a debate that College Democrats at OSU arranged.

With the primary for the seat about a week away, candidates are working on earning the Democratic nomination.

“It’s tremendously important that we get students back excited about politics and voting,” Democratic candidate Ted Celeste told The Lantern. “I’m a little concerned we’re in the final days of a campaign and it doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest, and we need to generate the interest.”

Democratic candidate Joyce Beatty said a representative cannot carryout their duties without keeping “young folks” engaged. Beatty, a former employee of OSU, has been publicly endorsed by Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.

“I’m a big proponent of students,” Beatty said. “I believe that it’s important for us to hear everyone’s voice because I want to be a new voice in Congress.”

The candidates debated issues pertaining to costs of tuition, job creation and student loans.

They agreed that cost of tuition should stop rising and a college education should be made available to everyone.

“Tuition should not continue to go up. I think we also should be utilizing our community colleges, which are a little bit cheaper,” said candidate Priscilla Tyson. “Our students should be able to go to those community colleges and then transfer over.”

Beatty argued she was one of the “strongest” advocates in placing a moratorium on college tuition increases during her time at the Ohio House of Representatives, where she served as a minority leader.

“When we look at the federal government and you look at the $8.6 billion that comes through grants or loans or contracts, education is the highest in funding,” Beatty said.

Beatty also said there needs to be an increase in funding to Pell Grants.

“Four years ago they cut the federal funds for Pell Grants,” Beatty said. “I want to make sure that we keep those dollars there and increase dollars.”

Tyson and Beatty said they would suggest different methods to students on ways to pay back their student loans.

Celeste suggested a few solutions to students owing thousands of dollars in loans upon graduation. He said businesses that hire students fresh out of college should be offered incentives, and suggested some student loans should be forgiven.

“We’re going to strengthen the economy, put people to work and remove that incredible burden that people have facing them as they’re trying to get out of college,” Celeste said.

David Waks, a third-year in political science, said although he supports Democratic candidate Mary Jo Kilroy in the primary, he was looking forward to hearing what the other three candidates had to say.

“My house falls into the newly redrawn 3rd District, so this is going to directly affect me because this person’s going to be my Congress man or Congress woman,” Waks said.

Kilroy was not present at the debate.

Rachel Cohen, a first-year in political science, said she favors a particular candidate but attended the debate to get a better idea of who she should vote for in the November primary.

“I’m actually very much undecided in the election. I’m excited to see what they have to say just because this is a Democrat heavy area,” Cohen said.

When it comes to providing jobs for college graduates, Beatty said in order for graduates to consider finding a job in Ohio, there needs to be a “pool of companies” available and willing to hire college graduates.

“I’m a strong advocate for Ohio. Stay (in) Ohio and keep those talented graduates right here in Ohio,” Beatty said. “I would make that one of the incentives for the major companies, so if they hired a first-year college graduate, that could help them.”

The newly formed 3rd Congressional District includes most of the city of Columbus. Elections for the Democratic primary will be Tuesday. 

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