The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Miami Student

On Friday, several members of The Miami Student attended the lively U.S. Senate debate between Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth. After a discussion of the debate and the qualifications of both candidates, the editorial board of The Miami Student endorses Sherrod Brown for Ohio Senator.

Brown, a native of Cleveland, was elected to the Senate in 2006 and is seeking his third term as senator. His campaign has been heavily focused on fighting the GOP tax plan and protecting the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the decade Brown has served on the Senate, he has used his power to stand up for middle-class values and protect Ohioans.

Brown supports the ACA, the expansion of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). He has consistently worked to protect those with pre-existing conditions under the ACA. Brown also cites the ACA as an important tool in fighting the opioid epidemic.

Brown rightly believes the opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing issues facing the state.

From 2015-2016, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found a 30.8 percent increase in drug overdose deaths in Ohio, and the CDC states that opioids are the “main driver of drug overdose deaths.”

Brown has a plan to fight this public health crisis and save lives. His plan includes making treatment and recovery more affordable to help those who are addicted.

Brown’s CARA legislation to help combat and research opioid addiction has allowed funding to be allocated to the Miami and Butler County communities to the tune of $2.1 million.

Just this year, Brown, along with Republican Sen. Rob Portman, helped to pass the Interdict Act, which gives U.S. Customs and Border Patrol  the tools necessary to keep deadly drugs out of the country.

In the wake of multiple mass shootings, Brown has thrown his support behind common-sense gun laws and wants to work to bring an end to gun violence in our state.

In 2016, the CDC found that 1,524 Ohioans died at the hands of a firearm. Brown is working to end gun violence by supporting universal background checks. In 2013, he voted for a law which would expand background checks for guns purchased at gun shows and online. He also supports banning the sale of bump stocks and barring people on the terror watch list from purchasing guns.

Brown has historically fought for the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ identifying population. He opposed a 2004 ballot issue to ban same-sex marriage in Ohio, and voted against a ban on same-sex adoption when he was in the House of Representatives. He co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, which protects women against sex-based pay discrimination.

Brown’s track record of fighting for Ohio’s most marginalized populations, while continuing to work towards the overarching good of the state, has made the editorial board’s choice to support him an easy one.

Renacci, on the other hand, has taken a radically conservative stance. He has repeatedly accused Brown of domestic abuse and has cited court documents from Brown’s divorce from his ex-wife, Larke Recchi, as proof. He has also claimed, without providing evidence, that several other women have called Renacci’s campaign with allegations of abuse.

Recchi has denied these allegations and asked the congressman to stop launching attacks against her family. Recchi has since remarried and, along with her husband, has campaigned for Brown.

The Student supports all survivors of abuse and assault, and we believe they should come forward on their own terms. However, Renacci has taken advantage of Recchi and Brown’s divorce and ignored her calls to stops these attacks. Also, if the congressman knows of other women with allegations of abuse, he must allow them to come forward instead of using them for political gain.

Renacci was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010. Prior to his time in politics, he was a businessman who worked as an accountant for companies such as Grant Thornton. His political career began at the local level in Wadsworth, OH, where he was elected to city council and, in 2004, as mayor.

Contrary to his previous reputation as a centrist Republican, Renacci has taken a radically conservative stance throughout his campaign. His campaign has also been chaotic, as he is now on his fourth campaign manager.

The congressman has advocated for more guns as a response to gun violence and supports a policy where a person would need a single permit to practice concealed carry in all 50 states.

Renacci has fought against the ACA and advocated for the “repeal and replace” policy, without providing an alternative to replace it with.He says that he supports protecting those with pre-existing conditions, but has placed his support behind the American Healthcare Act, which experts have said would strip healthcare from people with pre-existing conditions.

Renacci, like Brown, promises to fight the opioid epidemic. Renacci supported laws such as the Communities and Patients Act, which gives resources to areas affected by the epidemic. He has also advocated for an opioid addiction advisory board to combat the crisis.

Ultimately, we support Brown’s agenda for a more equal Ohio with a stronger middle class. We believe. Brown has the best policies to fight the opioid crisis, protect healthcare for those with pre-existing conditions, end gun violence in our state and protect the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community.