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Congress and campus: Ohio State’s representatives

Rep. Joyce Beatty delivers a celebratory speech at the Hyatt Regency Center in Columbus after she was declared the winner of Ohio’s 3rd congressional district. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

Three congressional districts contain students living on or near Ohio State’s Columbus campus, and the recently re-elected representatives for these districts each have plans to help college students this term.

Joyce Beatty, Troy Balderson and Steve Stivers were all elected in the 2018 midterm elections to represent the districts that surround the campus.

Beatty, a Democrat, represents Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District. The district runs through most of main campus, including all of the on-campus student housing, and south into downtown Columbus.

Beatty said she believes students are worried about the direction of the country and their future, which resulted in increased voter turnout.

“They want to have confidence that they can go graduate college without going broke, get a job, and earn a comfortable living doing meaningful work,” Beatty said in an email.

As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, Beatty said she plans on focusing on protecting student loan borrowers because she said she thinks the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has abandoned that role under the Trump administration.

Beatty also said college students care about gun violence, and they want to see their government attempt to make schools and communities safer.

During the March for Our Lives in 2018, a protest after the Parkland shooting, Beatty spoke through a megaphone on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse.

“My job is to vote against every gun bill that does not protect us,” she said.

Beatty said students should know her door is always open and that she looks forward to collaborating.

Republican Troy Balderson represents Ohio’s 12th Congressional District. It includes students who live northeast of campus and runs north to Mansfield and east to Zanesville.

“Ohioans were especially excited to be involved and participate in the political process this year because of the national attention our state received from President Trump, Vice President Pence, and former President Obama,” Balderson said in an email.

Balderson said he wants to reform the Higher Education Act — an act that provides resources to universities and promotes vocational training — and wants students to have multiple options when seeking steady, high-paying jobs.

“We also need to work on a bipartisan basis to ensure college affordability. Students and young adults are the future of this country, and it is imperative for members of Congress to hear from students in their district,” Balderson said. “It is my hope that students will reach out to me and I look forward to working with them.”

Balderson is a member of the Small Business Committee, and he said in this capacity, he will give small business owners a chance to succeed in a competitive economy.

Ohio’s 15th Congressional District is represented by Republican Steve Stivers, and the district covers the area west of campus, wraps around Columbus and runs as far south as Athens.

Stivers, an Ohio State alumnus, said he will work to increase college transparency and students’ financial literacy, while also discussing legislation that he plans to propose.

“Some in Congress have proposed legislation to allow individuals to refinance their loans at lower interest rates to lessen the burden of student debt,” Stivers said in an email. “However, I have a bill that would go much further in helping graduates by allowing employers to help pay down the actual principle of their loans.”

Stivers said he also promotes a message of bipartisanship and respectful disagreement.

“I will continue spreading the message of civility through the Congressional Civility and Respect Caucus, which I co-founded with congresswoman Joyce Beatty,” Stivers said.

Stivers said he understands the tough decisions students have to make because part of his decision to join the Ohio National Guard was to pay for his college education.

“I am committed to fighting for policies that will help provide students opportunities while they are in school and allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money after they graduate,” he said.

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