Alliance for Early Success allies across the country are sharing election results that impact children and families. We’ve compiled their summaries in an initial overview of where the country stands two days after the election.
While we don’t yet know the extent of the changes we’ll see on the national level, there is lots to report on state political landscapes — where the bulk of early childhood policy rises and falls.
The Year of the Ballot Measure
Ballot measures are a big theme this year, on issues from expanding Medicaid to ensuring children’s nutrition to raising the minimum wage.
Here’s the rundown of some key statewide measures:
- South Dakota expanded Medicaid to people with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
- New Mexico dedicated a share of the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to early childhood education for the first time – the culmination of more than a decade of work by families, communities, and advocates. (spread the word)
- Proving there is such a thing as a free lunch, Colorado provided school meals free of cost for all children statewide.
- Colorado also reduced the state income tax rate by 0.15%, but a vote to dedicate 0.1% of income tax revenue to a new state affordable housing fund was approved. Massachusetts will create a 4 percent tax on incomes that exceed $1 million for education and transportation funding. West Virginians voted no on a measure that would have provided a business tax cut, costing counties revenue.
- Nevada and Nebraska will increase the state minimum wage.
- Oregon’s measure that would ensure affordable health care as a fundamental right was passed by voters.
- In 2022, there were six ballot measures addressing abortion – the most on record for a single year. California, Michigan, and Vermont established state constitutional rights to abortion. Voters in Kansas (back in August) and Kentucky rejected amendments that would have stated that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding of abortions. Voters in Montana rejected a measure that would have declared infants born alive at any stage of development a legal person requiring medical care.
Wins in local communities
Advocates are celebrating local wins. To share just a few:
- In Oregon, two school districts that partner with the Children’s Institute passed bonds – one will use part of that funding to put at least one preschool in every elementary school in the district and the other will create a preschool hub for the district.
- Harris County, Texas (which includes Houston) successfully fended off an attempt to eliminate county funding for early childhood education, and instead they will invest $200 million of local ARPA funds, primarily in child care.
- Jackson County, Missouri passed a ballot initiative that renewed and doubled a voter-approved children’s fund.
Shifting Power Dynamics
Thirty-six states held elections for governor, including 20 with Republican governors and 16 with Democratic governors going into the elections. Three states—Maryland, Massachusetts, and Arizona—saw the governor’s office change from Republican to Democrat, while Nevada flipped from Democrat to Republican.
There are projected to be 22 Republican trifectas (one fewer than before the election), 17 Democratic trifectas (three more than before the election), and ten states with divided governments where neither party will hold trifecta control (down from 13 before the election). Alaska is still uncertain.
Four states flipped to Democratic control:
- In Michigan, Democrats flipped control of both chambers of the legislature, and the Democratic governor was re-elected.
- In Minnesota, Democrats flipped partisan control of the state Senate, retained control of the House of Representatives, and the Democratic governor was re-elected.
- In Maryland and Massachusetts, as mentioned above, Democrats won the governor’s seats while retaining control of the state legislatures.
Alaska currently has a divided government, but may become a Republican trifecta.
Two states that were previously trifectas flipped to divided government:
- Arizona was a Republican trifecta, now divided after the election of a Democratic governor.
- Nevada was a Democrat trifecta, now divided after the election of a Republican governor.
This was a big election for representation. Candidates made history this week, as “firsts” abounded – first female governor of Arkansas, first openly gay (lesbian) governors (Massachusetts and Oregon), first woman of color to win a statewide contest in Massachusetts (attorney general), first Black governor and attorney general of Maryland (and only the third Black governor in the nation), first Gen Z’er elected to Congress (Florida), first transgender man elected to a state legislature (New Hampshire), and more.
Congratulations to the advocates, parents, practitioners, organizers, and civic and business leaders who made children and families a priority this election.