Classes haven’t been back a week, yet the Ohio State student organization College Democrats are already encouraging campus political activity, having held a speaker event Thursday night with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray.
Students packed into the Senate Chamber in the Ohio Union at 7 p.m. to hear Cordray’s take on several issues, including gun laws and tuition, with spectators overflowing into the hallway outside.
While some students chose to attend in a show of support for Cordray, others sought clarification on some of his stances.
“[I was] hoping to really see where he stands on a lot of the issues,” Brandon Bishop, a first-year in political science, said. “I’m leaning toward voting for Cordray but I’m not sure how passionate my support is yet, and I thought that the opportunity to see him in person would really solidify that choice for me.”
“We think it’s a really important election,” said Deanna Henry, second-year political science student and chief of staff for the College Democrats at Ohio State. “Ohio has been Republican for a really long time, and we aren’t agreeing on policy, and we aren’t seeing that progress that we want.”
Cordray said he understands the challenge.
“There are definitely things we will be able to work across the aisle on,” he said. “Though the things we disagree on, we’ll have to stand fast and discuss and possibly argue about. It just depends on the issue.”
President Donald Trump was in Columbus on Friday for the Ohio Republican Party state dinner — a day after Cordray — and gave a harsh prediction of what the Democratic candidate would bring to Ohio.
“Cordray will destroy your state,” Trump said.
Cordray is running on a platform of the rehabilitation and refunding of public programs to improve education, fighting the opioid crisis and rebuilding infrastructure. In spite of his relatively high rating by the NRA, he supports universal background checks and barriers to gun access for felons, those suffering from mental illnesses and domestic abusers.
As an Ohio State alum, Cordray is outspoken about his support for students.
“We want to invest in our colleges and universities. We want to work to bring tuition down. We want to make sure that there is a full spectrum of skills training so that more people can get further training beyond K-12,” Cordray said. “Young people need a path to the future that they can afford and not be crushed by debt.”
College Democrats at Ohio State are hoping to create motivation and inspiration for civic engagement on all levels of government by bringing in candidates and speakers such as Cordray.
“We wanted to get the people on this campus, new voters and new freshmen coming in, excited for [College Democrats] but excited for Richard as well,” Henry said.
The Ohio gubernatorial race comes to a head in November with the Ohio general election on Nov. 6.