The Tuesday Ohio municipal election is fast approaching and those registered to vote in Columbus have a variety of candidates to choose from in the race for both city council and mayor.
To me, being able to vote is not only a right but also a privilege. I believe this to be true because I was the first in my family to vote. Voting should not be taken for granted and is also one of the most fundamental ways one can make a difference. I encourage students of all majors and interests to involve themselves in learning about the issues facing our country, state and city and go out and vote when they can. I stress the importance that Ohio State students registered in Columbus play in the Ohio municipal elections for many reasons.
OSU is the largest university in Columbus. Our school brings students here, not just from around Ohio but also from across the country and around the world. So many Buckeyes pursue jobs and internships throughout the city of Columbus and continue to do so after graduation. We play a bigger role in this city than we realize, and because of this I believe that students should have a voice.
After reading about the candidates running for city council and learning about what they hope to accomplish, there are some key candidates that stand out to me. The first is Elizabeth Brown, whose vision is to build strong neighborhoods, create more jobs and fight poverty. If she is anything like her father, Ohio’s own Senator Sherrod Brown, then I believe that Columbus will be in good hands. It surprised me to learn that although she had a baby last week, she continues to attend events to meet voters. To me, this without a doubt shows her dedication. Having a baby and running for office at the same time is not easy, but Brown is doing a phenomenal job so far.
Her track record for service in Columbus also impressed me. Throughout the community, she has helped individuals of all ages. As a member of the City Year AmeriCorps program, she mentored middle school students to improve literacy and created various learning projects in public schools. Brown also serves on the board of a mental health treatment center, The Center for Balanced Living, which focuses on eating disorders. Mental health is one of the major issues facing Ohio today, and it shows a lot that a candidate cares so much about this topic. While manager of Downtown Economic Development, she also helped create jobs while encouraging new companies to come to Columbus. A dedicated public servant who is passionate about our city, Brown would be an excellent candidate to vote for on Tuesday.
Voters should also look into Michael Stinziano, an advocate for students who is running for city council as well. Stinziano currently represents OSU and other college campuses in the Ohio House of Representatives. He has sponsored legislation that would remove the sales tax from textbooks, increasing affordability for students. Stinziano also introduced the bill that allowed student trustees to have full voting rights at OSU and other public universities in Ohio. He supports the student voice and is aware of the issues that face us today. In addition, his vision includes combating crime in Columbus and creating safer neighborhoods for all of us to live in. If he is elected to city council, I know he would continue to advocate for us and make sure our concerns are heard.
In the election for mayor of Columbus, Andrew Ginther has gained large support and stands as the leading candidate. I attended a young professionals event downtown last week where I had a chance to not only hear him speak about his visions for Columbus but also shake his hand and chat with him afterwards.
I learned that, as president of Columbus city council, Ginther worked with current Mayor Michael Coleman to not only retain thousands of jobs in Columbus but create new ones as well. He has also invested in early childhood education, fought to end childhood hunger and worked to reduce infant mortality.
One of Ginther’s major policy points that caught my attention included hiring more police and firefighters. He has been implementing important strategies to prevent crime through programs such as the Community Crime Patrol and the Columbus Police Summer Strike Force. Ginther’s safety efforts might not only impact citizens of Columbus but also OSU students who live in the off campus area. As a victim of an off-campus crime, safety is one of my biggest concerns, and it means a lot to me that a candidate is passionate about building a safer Columbus.
Although these are just my opinions, I hope students can form their own. I encourage others to research the variety of candidates running, as well as the many issues to vote on in the election. OSU plays an immense role in Columbus and Buckeyes should definitely go out and make a difference this Tuesday.
Second-year in neuroscience