Online Exclusive!!! Student Democrats, Republicans debate state issues in mock debate

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    Students were asked to badger, question, criticize or compliment the College Republicans and Young Democrats during yesterdays debate about the views of each party concerning high-priority issues for the upcoming gubernatorial elections, said the debate’s moderator.”We are here to talk about the things each party thinks is important for students to know before voting in the upcoming governor elections,” said Amanda Edmiston, a sophomore political science and history major who was the moderator during the debate. “We want this debate to be led by the audience and their questions.”

    Financial aid and higher education was one of the issues that was heavily discussed.

    “We’re all here, we all want more money,” said Jason Ratigan, a senior history major speaking for the Young Democrats. “Higher education is so much more common now, we have to bump up the amount of financial aid offered.”

    Tyler Fultz, a senior history and political science major speaking on behalf of College Republicans, said he agreed with Ratigan about the need for an increase in financial aid.

    “I agree with the democratic stance, but I also think it ties in with the immigration issue,” Fultz said. “We need to protect the bottom rung of America who are needing education but cannot get jobs to support themselves.”

    “Coming from someone who works in financial aid, immigration has nothing to do with it,” said Nancy VanBoskirk, an academic counselor for the student support services program.

    “Texas is one of the worst states about giving money for financial aid,” VanBoskirk said. “Students must let representatives know, on a state or a federal level, about your concerns for financial aid.”

    Along with financial aid and higher education, the war on terror, minimum wage and stem-cell research were also discussed.

    “If we don’t do something in Iraq, we should leave it better than it was before we came,” said Paul Rinnan, a senior philosophy and political science major speaking for the Young Democrats.

    Lori Filler, an executive assistant in the school of college development, said she believes the only reason Bush is looking at options for Iraq is because it is getting closer to election time.

    “Just to remind the audience, Democrats did support going into Iraq in the beginning of the war,” Fultz said.

    Fultz discussed Bush’s point of view on the topic of stem-cell research, which not everyone in the republican party shared.

    “Bush wants to wait for new advances and make sure we aren’t sacrificing human life, which goes along with his policy on ‘Right to Life,” Fultz said.

    Ratigan said the general democratic position is stem-cell research shows great potential for possibly finding the cure to disease like Parkinson’s Disease and diabetes which affect millions of Americans.

    The final issue discussed was why college students should vote.

    Both representatives from College Republicans, Fultz and Austin Uebele, a junior psychology major, focused mainly on the importance of students voicing their opinions on international issues and how voting gives the students a voice and an opportunity to be heard.

    The Young Democrats emphasized the fact that things like social security and elementary education may not mean as much to a college student now, but these issues will eventually affect everyone, Ratigan said.

    “All issues discussed will one day affect each of you, elementary education will one day apply to your children,” Ratigan said.