State of the State: Looking forward for Ohio
With election season right around the corner, politicians keep their eyes on Ohio – a heavily contested battleground state known for a diverse voter pool from both sides of the aisle.
- With primary season behind us, presidential candidate Mitt Romney and incumbent President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail early in hopes to win over voters in major swing states. Citing issues with the economy, education, social controversies and a litany of other voter concerns, the two will do everything they can to secure the state's electoral votes. But how do the big picture items translate to the state level for Ohio, and what are the the state's voters truly concerned about? Here's a break-down of some of the Buckeye State's highest profile concerns:
- The Economy
- Just like other states, Ohio voters are looking for a candidate who can make positive change for the economy. As the nation attempts to reemerge from recession, Ohio's unemployment rate stands at 7.5%. While below the national rate of 8.2%, the state's current percentage is high enough to be of concern to citizens. Although candidates for several offices promise to create more jobs, those who campaign with a clear plan of achieving that goal will deliver a strong message that will resonate well with Ohioans.
- Health Care
- In 2011, Ohioans voted in favor of Issue 3 which exempted the state from Obama's health care mandate. Whether or not the exemption was constitutional is still being debated, as the Constitution states that federal government trumps state law in the event of any contested policies.As debate continues on the matter, voters can expect to hear arguments on the issue from all sides.
- Ohio's Senate Seats
- In addition to presidential elections, Sen. Sherrod Brown will also try to keep his seat as he runs against Josh Mandel, Ohio's current state treasurer.
- Elected in 2006, Brown is known for voting in favor of Obama's health care mandate. Brown has also voiced his support for marriage equality and paycheck and compensation equality for women. Ohio's other Senate seat is held by Republican Rob Portman. That being the case, many Democratic groups across Ohio, especially at the university level, have made Brown's reelection campaign a priority.
- Marriage Equality
- Same-sex marriage has taken the lime-light on the national stage, and Ohio has been no exception to that trend. June will see Cleveland and Columbus embracing and celebrating with the LGBTQ community at those cities' annual Pride festivals. On the political end, activist groups such as Get Equal Ohio have organized a number of rallies, protests, mass weddings and other events to make a statement and grab the attention of politicians.In attendance at such events has been Ohio State Representative Nickie Antonio, a Democrat from Lakewood and out lesbian. Antonio spoke out at such events regarding her experiences as a mother of two and how she and her partner fit into their community as a couple.
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