Julia Walters
Staff Writer

With midterm elections approaching next fall and the Congressional campaigns in full swing, it can be difficult to discern through all the political complexities and where each candidate stands on different issues.

Currently, the Lancaster area is in the 16th Congressional district and is served in the House of Representatives by Lloyd Smucker, a Republican. However, due to recent redistricting legislation, the Lancaster area will soon officially become the 11th Congressional district. Representative Smucker will be running for reelection for the upcoming 11th district and his major opponent running against him will be Democrat Jess King, a newcomer to politics.

Since Mr. Smucker and Ms. King are from opposing political parties that have seemingly become more polarized, their stances on issues greatly vary. Young voters who are confused and even conflicted about these politicians should know exactly who they’re voting for.

Perhaps one of the biggest problems this country is focused on is gun reform. Generally, Representative Smucker advocates for the 2nd Amendment and the protection it gives

to gun owners. He is quoted on his official website as saying, “law-abiding gun owners deserve the full protection of the U.S. Constitution when exercising their right to carry a concealed weapon.”

Ms. King is on the other side of the issue and supports more active legislation that would require more background checks as well as the banning of semi automatic assault weapons. She does not support politicians receiving financial support from the NRA and believes that “Rep. Smucker should be ashamed” for accepting their support, especially in the wake of this country’s recent gun violence.

Border control and immigration are also issues currently debated in our country. Smucker supports increased border control and legislation that would require unlawful immigrants to return to their home country and gain legal citizenship before returning to the United States.  On the flip side, King believes in more open immigration plans and welcomes refugees into this country, while also supporting legislation that would make citizenship less complicated and less difficult to obtain. She also opposes deportment and detainment policies that would could separate families and potentially put them back in dangerous situations.

On economic issues, Representative Smucker supports “a flatter, fairer tax code which is simple to understand and closes loopholes” and also opposes an income tax increase. Ms. King is in support of a more gradual tax plan and also believes in eventually raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which Representative Smucker does not actively support. King believes that these economic efforts will help “create a fair economy for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

Healthcare is another concern, considering the Affordable Health Care Act is disputed by many Republicans, including Smucker: “Obamacare is broken…The entire system is unsustainable and on the verge of collapse. It’s time for a change.”

While King generally supports Obamacare, she believes it is only the start of an effective system. If elected into Congress, King would support legislation that would expand MediCare to all Americans in order to gain federally mandated, lifelong, public health insurance.

On LGBT concerns, Smucker is not extremely vocal; however, it is known that he does not support same-sex marriage. King holds a contrasting opinion and not only supports same-sex marriage, but also supports legislation that actively prevents discrimination and protects LGBT Americans. According to King, “No matter who we are or who we love, we have a right to pursue our dreams, marry our chosen partner, and live our lives free from discrimination.”

Abortion is another hot-button issue; Smucker opposes any pro-choice legislation, excluding instances of rape, incest or when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life.

He also supports defunding women’s health institutions such as Planned Parenthood. On the subject, Smucker states “I believe life begins at conception, and [pro-life legislation] is one step we can take to save thousands of lives.”

King holds opposing beliefs, specifically that “empowering women means investing in an economy that works for all of us and our families.” To support this belief, she is in support of increased funding toward Planned Parenthood and similar institutions as well as supporting pro-choice legislation.

Though the midterm elections may not seem as substantial as general elections, they can carry more weight than many believe. The midterm elections fall on Nov. 6 this year.