The 2018 midterms usher in new legislators with new policies
by Ty Fredrick, ’22. Graphic by Katie Zhao, ’19.
A record–breaking 49 percent of eligible voters turned out for Nov. 6, 2018’s midterms, the highest turnout since 1914. These elections determine not only many
of the legislative seats at the federal level, but elect key positions in state government as well.
The Ohio state government plays a significant role in creating or changing many policies that are hotly debated today like gun control, abortion laws and educational curriculums. Despite this, only 25 percent of students in a voluntary Arlingtonian survey of 137 students said they felt they had a good grasp on the structure of Ohio’s government. Only 23 percent felt they were familiar with the policies and priorities of the current Ohio administration. However, in another voluntary Arlingtonian survey of 160 students, 91 percent said they plan on voting, much higher than the nationwide 31 percent turnout among voters aged 18-29 during the midterms.
OHIO’S OPIOID CRISIS
Many new faces appearing in the legislature could change the landscape for Ohio’s laws and regulations surrounding issues like the state’s opioid crisis. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the rate of opioid-related deaths in Ohio is 33 per 100,000, more than double the national average.
“Ohio is in the grips of an opioid epidemic that is devastating families and stretching our rst responders and law enforcement to the limit,” House Speaker Larry Householder’s website said.
During his campaign for governor, Mike DeWine developed a 12-point plan to solve the problems created by the crisis. One part would implement advanced drug education in schools across a wider range of grade levels.
“One of the ways we want to do prevention is directly in school, K-12, every kid, every year,” DeWine said at a Jan. 29 community meeting. “No matter where they are, something that’s age appropriate and something that’s proven to work.”
Drug education reform is not the only change DeWine’s administration plans to bring to the public school system.
“Standardized tests are limiting educator’s creativity and forcing them to teach to a test. This interferes with
a child’s ability to think creatively and problem solve,” DeWine’s website said. The website also said both DeWine and the lieutenant governor of Ohio, John Husted, want to cut the number of standardized tests students are required to take every year.
“It’s important to make sure we have more dreamers, more thinkers and more innovators here in Ohio,” DeWine said in his inaugural speech.
Current Senate President Larry Obhof agreed, saying on his website that “he has voted to cut unnecessary standardized testing and supports more local control over academic standards.”
Students may see this administration influencing their paths even after graduation. DeWine’s website outlines his ideas for making higher education more accessible: “The DeWine/Husted administration will implement less testing and more learning, increase access to technology in all schools to ensure students are college-ready or job-ready, and make the cost of college more affordable.”
House Democrat Allison Russo also has similar intentions according to her website.
“Ohio’s lawmakers must face the issue of college affordability head-on, and I believe that increased higher education funding and programs to make college graduation attainable should be a statewide priority.” Russo’s website said.
Most seniors and juniors will be eligible to vote in the 2020 election, and all high school students who are currently 14 and U.S. citizens will be eligible to vote in the 2022 midterms.