State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Youngstown, will return to his alma mater, Ohio University, in October as part of his campaign to reach out to college campuses.
Schiavoni, a 2001 OU alumnus, began his campaign nearly a year ago and has spent every day in a different part of Ohio. He said his sights are set on college campuses in the upcoming months. He said he is planning on going to Ohio State University, Kenyon University, Oberlin College and — of course — his alma mater.
“Young people are the key to this next election,” he said. “As I travel the state, young people want to be involved in this next election because they know it’s important.”
Schiavoni said he will participate in OU’s homecoming parade Oct. 7, but, as of press time, he does not know if he will hold any other events.
Although he will be walking with them in the parade, OU College Democrats has not yet endorsed a candidate and will not until the spring primary.
“We’re really excited about that,” OU College Democrats President Ashley Fishwick said of Schiavoni coming to Athens. “It’s good to see a candidate who’s really engaged with students.”
At 37 years old, Schiavoni is the youngest governor candidate. He said this gives him an advantage when it comes to garnering college students' votes.
“I understand the concerns (of students),” he said. “I understand we need to give young people incentives to stay and build their lives here.”
Schiavoni said he will establish fellowships to get young people involved in his campaign.
Schiavoni said a main focus of his campaign is advocating for the alleviation of student debt. He will roll out a bill next week to assist in financing homes for first-time buyers with student debt.
“We want young people to stay and prosper in Ohio,” he said. “I’m somebody that is concerned about your future and keeping you in the state. I know we have to have incentive programs.”
Sam Miller, former president of the College Democrats, said she is interested in several candidates, and Schiavoni is one of them.
“Oftentimes in politics, we see older people pretending to understand the issues of young people,” she said. “He was a Bobcat. He wasn’t in college that long ago. He understands that college is really expensive and is trying to fix that. His youth really attracts college students to him.”