Franklin County has moved toward Democratic candidates over the years.Rich Exner, cleveland.com
DUBLIN, Ohio - Last year's presidential election divided this thriving suburban community outside of Columbus straight down the middle: Hillary Clinton earned 47.7 percent of the vote; Donald Trump received 45.6 percent.
"During the election week, it was just hell. Parents would come ask me and say, 'Who are you voting for? Who are you voting for?'" said Katie Speed, a 24-year-old preschool teacher in Dublin.
She said she avoided answering the divisive question and shifted the focus back to her students.
Ohio Matters is a series examining important national issues through the eyes of people living across the state.
"Especially in this election, for sure, people were so just heated if you said anything," Speed said. "If you said, 'I'm voting for Hillary,' well, people would be like: 'Why are you doing that?' And if you voted for Trump, and then it's like, 'Oh you're a racist.' It's like: No. I would have to defer and say, 'I'm sorry, I'm not going to talk to you about your politics. I'm here to talk about your kids.'"Meet Beki Cooper, a 37-year-old Dublin mom.Submitted photo
While Dublin was evenly split in 2016, Franklin County as a whole went decisively for Clinton, who got 60 percent of the vote. The county used to be solidly Republican, but has voted Democratic in each presidential race beginning with Bill Clinton's election in 1996.
Opinions in Dublin are divided, but people here use the same reason to ground their political beliefs: Their children. They want this country to be a better place for their kids.
Read about five people from Franklin County and the issues that matter to them: Robert Fathman, Michelle Holden, John League, Beki Cooper and Katie Speed.Franklin County
Explore Franklin County by the numbers, from income and education to population and ancestry.
But life is already good in Dublin. Recession-resistant Columbus, the state capital with a reliable insurance industry, Ohio State University and state government jobs, has avoided the population loss seen in other parts of the state. Dublin, unlike many places in Ohio, is growing.Meet Robert Fathman, a psychologist in Dublin.Mary Kilpatrick, cleveland.com
The suburb is made up of mostly well-to-do families. The median family income there was about $139,800 -- the fifth highest in the state. About 74 percent of adults over 25 have earned at least a bachelor's degree. That's the third highest rate in the in the state.
Refined shops and restaurants line downtown. A stately stone exterior dresses up a pizza shop. New construction encircles the town's main drag. Subdivisions boast big, two-story homes and manicured lawns.Meet Michelle Holden, a 46-year-old Dublin mom.Mary Kilpatrick, cleveland.com
These neighborhoods work hard to project class. One was designed with a Tuscan theme; another sits behind a big gate. Public art is big: the city is known for a large field of corn statues, a nod to its agricultural roots. This is a place that's growing into its footprint: it's expanding and changing. Maybe that's why you get so many opinions.
"Dublin is more split evenly (politically), because Dublin has more of the younger faces. There are more younger families, and more younger people in Dublin, just because Dublin is now becoming kind of a new hot spot," Speed said. "I would definitely say it's cut down the middle."
Ask Dubliners what they want from a Trump presidency, and you get a mix of small smiles and grimaces.
Some worry about the effects of rolling back President Barack Obama's policies, like the Affordable Care Act. Others are excited to see those policies go.Meet John League, a Navy veteran living in Dublin.Submitted photo
Michelle Holden, a 46-year-old stay-at-home mom, said her younger sister depends on Obamacare for health insurance.
"I don't want him to cut the Affordable Care Act," Holden said. "That's a big one for me."
But Beki Cooper, a stay-at-home mom whose husband is an entrepreneur, said the program has caused a strain on her family. She's hoping Trump can come up with a better solution.
General outlooks on Trump vary drastically.Meet Katie Speed, a 24-year-old preschool teacher.Submitted photo
"I see a lot of disasters. I see a lot of mistakes, and I see a lot of terrible decisions ahead," said Speed, who struggled to decide whom to support in the November election. She said she didn't want to vote for Clinton or Trump for a long time. She researched third party candidates before deciding at the last minute to support Clinton.
Cooper said Trump wasn't her first choice in the Republican primaries. But she said she sees him as a president who genuinely wants to help Americans.
"I am proud to have him as president," Cooper said. "He has proved that he is not a one-man show, but serious about making positive change to help every person from every background and walk of life."
Cleveland.com reporter Rich Exner contributed to this report.
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