As a Columbus resident and Ohio State student, I attempt to be as politically engaged as possible with the campaigns for elected offices in Central Ohio. So naturally, when the newly drawn 3rd Congressional District was announced and it encompassed a majority of the city of Columbus and OSU, I was interested.
The new district certainly leans left, with a 65 percent Democratic voting index, and is widely expected to elect a Democrat to Congress this November. After attending the Democratic primary debate on campus last March, sponsored by the College Democrats, I was incredibly intrigued by Joyce Beatty.
As former minority leader in the Ohio House of Representatives, and former senior vice president of outreach and engagement at OSU, her Central Ohio and Buckeye roots are bona fide. You could hear the passion she has for students and education every time they were mentioned. In spite of her difficult prospects, she emerged victorious after the primary on March 6.
Beatty faces Republican Chris Long in the general election on Nov. 6. Long, a city council member from Reynoldsburg, is a former staff sergeant in the United States Air Force. Despite Long’s easy primary win – he won by more than 15 percent – his dismal fundraising is a road block to engaging Beatty in an actual campaign fight. The most recent fundraising totals have put Beatty ahead, $514,585 to Long’s $15,391.
Although Beatty has an enormous voter registration advantage, an excess of cash on hand and name recognition, I made an effort to compare both of their records on students and higher education.
According to Beatty’s campaign website, she “worked to increase funding for higher education and helped pass legislation that froze college tuition” in Ohio, and “in Congress, Joyce Beatty will be a strong voice against anyone who attempts to cut funding to programs such as Pell grants.”
She specifically singles out the budget proposed by Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, which Beatty claims would double student loan interest rates and remove billions of dollars in funding for Pell grants. According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 15,000 OSU students received Pell grants in 2011.
While I attempted to compare education plans between the two candidates, an email to Long’s campaign was not returned, and his campaign website lacks his policy plans relating to education. It’s very possible that Long would be an advocate for students in Washington D.C., but it’s hard to tell from the search I did on his website. “We’re sorry, but education returns no results. Please try your search again, or navigate around the site with the links on top.” Well, I’m sorry, Long, but if education returns no results, it most certainly won’t result in you receiving my vote.
As a student, Beatty’s commitment to Columbus and the OSU community is an incredible draw. Her actions and work in the Ohio House of Representatives speak louder than her campaign promises, and I am confident that OSU’s interests and the voice of students would be represented by Beatty as our member of Congress.
Columnist Nate Moseley is a registered Democrat and a page in the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus.