Three Takeaways from the Midterm Election


Jason Wagner

Tuesday’s elections have large implications for California youth, yet the average high school student probably paid little attention to the 2022 elections. As voting is a right only granted to adults, it may seem like elections are only an adult affair. However, the issues Californian adults voted on will directly impact high schoolers. Here are the three most important takeaways from Tuesday’s elections involving and impacting Lamorinda teenagers.


Public School Arts Programs Win More Funding
Over 3 million Californians, around 61%, voted to increase funding for public school arts programs. The law mandates the state spend 1% of the education budget (around $1 billion) on such programs annually at no expense to taxpayers. 99% of the money goes directly to schools, not districts, where school principals may devise and report a spending plan. It also requires that 80% of funds be used to hire new visual and performing arts staff. The mandate, backed by several celebrities, could be foregone in an economic crisis.


For Better Schools Bloc Fails to Capture School Board Majority
Mark Woolway, Gabe Leeden, and Renee Nowak saw an opportunity to seize control of the school board when three of five seats were vacated. The three formed a coalition, frustrated with the incumbent board’s lack of transparency, budget plans, and COVID-19 pandemic dealings. In a Fox News interview, Woolway stated that he hoped to provide differing views and opinions on the district’s affairs. None of the For Better Schools candidates received more than 9% of the popular vote, earning a combined voting share of around 23%.


California to Ban Flavored Nicotine Sales
Around 62% of Californians voted to uphold a 2020 law, banning the sale of flavored tobacco products, except for certain cultural, premium, and loose-leaf tobacco products. The tobacco industry is infamous for appealing to youth, and marketing fruit and candy-flavored products. Proponents say that 80% of kids who have used tobacco or nicotine started with a flavored product. Flavored tobacco products account for millions of dollars in state tax revenue, which would be lost with the ban.


Tuesday’s results have profound implications for Lamorinda’s youth. The decisions made by adult voters impact minors’ education, health, safety, and environment.