Students sound off on gambling, smoking rights, minimum wage

Steve Bushong

The issues were the election’s drawing point for many students who voted yesterday.

Election workers in Kent unofficially said student turnout was up from the spring election — possibly because of the controversial issues on the ballot, including a minimum wage increase, Issue 2, and the disputed right to smoke in public, Issues 4 and 5.

“(The issues) are relevant to most students,” freshman pre-medicine major Kelsey Logston said. “They might not care about the politics, like who’s governor, but the issues affect everyone somehow.”

Logston is an assistant manager at Subway, where she earns $6.75 per hour. She said she’d be happy to see a 10 cent raise on her paychecks soon.

The minimum wage issue passed 56-44 at press time.

Senior psychology major Stephanie Vincent also said she supported the issue, saying the current minimum wage isn’t enough to live on.

“Gas prices are higher, rent is higher — everyone’s hiring in at minimum wage,” Vincent said. “It’s not working.”

Freshman marketing major Sydney Bennett was against the minimum wage issue. She said she knows small business owners in Kent and worries the issue will harm them.

“I’d hate to see them go out of business,” Bennett said.

Also affecting businesses are the smoking issues, commonly known as Smoke Less Ohio and Smoke Free Ohio.

Vincent said that as a bartender she’d be affected personally by the ban on public smoking. She said it will slow nightlife, and bars will lose business.

“If (patrons) can’t smoke when they go out, then they won’t go out,” Vincent said.

Brendan Hughes, senior communication studies major, who considers himself an independent, was only asking for one thing from yesterday’s ballots: “If I could smoke a cigarette in peace, then I’d be happy with this election.”

However, Smoke Free Ohio, or Issue 5, was the popular option among voters yesterday — no more smoking in public places.

Hughes also said he was in support of Issue 3, a constitutional amendment which would allow for limited gambling in Ohio and offer scholarships to high school seniors, because schools need the money.

Freshman fashion design major Liz Sperling voted against the issue on a moral basis.

“People ruin their lives gambling,” she said.

The issue failed 57-43 at press time.

Contact safety reporter Steve Bushong at [email protected].