As the 2022 congressional elections approach, Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown decided to stop by Cleveland State University and encourage students to use their voting rights this November.
In this election, 35 out of 100 seats in the U.S. Senate will be contested, and Ohio’s results will play a significant role in the chamber’s partisan balance. Democrats are placing their bets on the success of Ohio Representative Tim Ryan, who is running for the Senate to succeed retiring Republican Rob Portman.
If Ryan wins against his Republican rival J.D. Vance, the Democrats will have a significantly higher chance of having a majority in the Senate. And, to Brown, who has publicly endorsed Rep. Tim Ryan, the stakes are undeniably high.
“It’s about choice. It’s about women–not politicians–making decisions about their health care, it’s about gun safety, it’s about student loans. it’s about climate change, it’s about civil rights, it’s all those things, right?” Senator Brown told The Cauldron. “And clearly, Democrats are advocating for young people and advocating for the future.”
Brown, who has expressed satisfaction with the restoration of abortion access in Ohio, reiterated the importance of voting this November in ensuring that the next steps will be taken for the protection of reproductive rights across the state and country.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade (1973) this past June, a six-week abortion ban was instituted in Ohio. However, on September 15th, an Ohio judge placed a temporary restraining order on that ban in light of extreme outcry.
“I’m glad that the courts have done that. We have one of the most anti-choice governors and legislatures in the country. And we’ve had at least three pre-teen girls leave the state–we know of three–to get abortions after being raped. And that’s just outrageous, and it’s immoral, and the elections of this state really matter as a result.”
The ballot this November, with its plethora of hot-button issues, urgently calls citizens to make their way to the voting booths and exercise their freedom of choice, as Brown expressed throughout the interview.
Freedom of Speech vs Harassment
While on the topic of freedoms, the Senator also touched on the increasingly nuanced freedom of speech. Upon being informed of the recent on-campus, student-led protest against remarks made by Christian pastor Andrew R. Rappaport, Brown offered a simple response:
“Free speech is free speech—as long as it doesn’t border on violence.”
However, when he was also questioned about where the line should be drawn between free speech and harassment, he didn’t have an entirely certain answer.
On a different topic, Senator Brown also briefly addressed the current state of international affairs as he was asked about his thoughts on the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. An Israeli soldier killed Abu Akleh in what was declared by the nation as a supposed mistake during an exchange of fire.
The response from the Israeli government provoked outrage in Palestinian communities all over the world, and with a Palestinian community as vast as that of Cleveland State University, Senator was prompted to share his thoughts on the incident as a whole:
“I don’t think we deal with law enforcement in this state, this country, or internationally as well as we should in terms of training and accountability,” Brown said. “I’m working on legislation, a bipartisan bill that’s supported by the fraternal order of police and the NACP to do better training. That’s better training internationally of soldiers—that are in those situations—and better training of police in this country.”
For Brown, the votes of every American citizen this upcoming congressional election prove more critical than ever before—on a state, national, and international level.
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