In an election watched nationwide, Ohio’s voters quashed Issue 2 last night. That’s the measure that would have limited collective bargaining for some 350-thousand police, firefighters, teachers and other public employees. As StateImpact: Ohio’s Ida Lieszkovszky reports, unions members celebrated last night, but many are concerned about Governor John Kasich’s next move.
The “We Are Ohio” watch party in Cleveland was in celebration mode from the moment it kicked off. By the time the margin of Issue 2’s defeat – 61-39 percent—became clear, it had evolved into a giant dance party.
Everyone was convinced of victory early on, including American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. She made the trip to Cleveland to stump against Issue 2 in the final days before the vote. Weingarten says the message to Governor John Kasich was clear.
“What he was told today was that the community sided with the people who make a difference in their lives every day,” says Weingarten.
Cleveland teacher Robert Walters was in high spirits, though admittedly worried about the future.
“We’re very much aware of the fact that this is only the beginning, and that while we may be victorious tonight, we know that tomorrow we’ve got to make sure that we’re back on point and we’re ready to combat whatever the conservatives put at our doorstep again,” says Walters.
At a news conference in Columbus, Governor John Kasich said he heard voters, and will take some time before deciding what to do next concerning Ohio’s public employee unions.
StateImpact Ohio is an education reporting collaboration of NPR and Ohio public radio stations WCPN, WKSU and WOSU.” For more education reporting, go to our Web site, stateimpact.npr.org/ohio.