Ohio legislators share top priorities in poll of 135th Ohio General Assembly members

In the first Gongwer-Werth survey of the 135th Ohio General Assembly, which convened for the 2023 session earlier this month, lawmakers were polled about key issues, like the House Speaker race and upcoming legislative priorities.

In one of the four poll questions, legislators were asked what they feel is the most important issue for the new General Assembly to address.

Overall results show education as the top priority with 46% of votes. Workforce development came in second at 35%. Abortion, addiction/mental health, and infrastructure/transportation were shown to be top priority for some, with each category gaining less than 9% of votes.

By political party, top priorities varied more widely. For Democratic assembly members, education is by far the most pressing matter, getting 83% of votes. Workforce development came in second at 17%.

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For Republicans, workforce development is a leading priority, receiving 42% of votes, with education coming in second at 33%. Abortion is the most pressing matter for 11% of Republican members, addiction/mental health for 8%, and infrastructure/transportation for 6%.

House Speaker fight

Sixty-one percent of lawmakers feel the House Speaker election will have a negative impact on the legislative process. Thirty-five percent feel the election will have a positive impact, and 4% feel it will have no impact.

Among the assembly’s Democratic members, 75% feel the speaker election will impact the legislative process positively. Seventeen percent anticipate a negative impact, and 8% feel there will be no significant impact.

Results to this question were essentially the opposite among Republican members, with 76% anticipating a negative impact, 22% predicting a positive impact, and 3% feel there will be no impact.

Immigration

Members were asked their opinion on Gov. Mike DeWine’s recent call for legal immigration to Ohio.

“If you are a legal immigrant who has recently come to this country looking to build a better life, to earn a living, to create a home for your family, and to contribute to your community, I invite you to come to Ohio, because you will be welcome here,” DeWine said in his second inaugural address on Jan. 9.

One-hundred percent of Democratic legislators supported DeWine’s stance, compared to 92% of Republicans.

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TikTok ban

Lawmakers were also polled on the governor’s recent executive order to prohibit state employees from using TikTok — and certain other foreign-owned applications, platforms, and websites — on government-issued devices. The ban was one of several executive orders signed by DeWine minutes after being sworn in on Jan. 8.

According to the order, the ban has been issued to “protect Ohio private companies, government entities, and citizens from cybersecurity vulnerabilities and threats”

“These social media applications and platforms are known to directly or indirectly act as an intelligence gathering mechanism for the (Chinese Communist Party) by sharing sensitive personal and business information and data obtained from its users and their devices with the CCP,” the order states.

Poll results show 76% of all 135th Ohio General Assembly members agree with the executive order. By party, 75% of Democratic members support the order. Republican members feel similarly, with 76% in support of the ban.

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