It’s election season and campaign ads are suddenly filling up commercial spots on our favorite TV shows. Tuesday night, College Democrats filled up Hirst Lounge by bringing in a local candidate for State Assembly, Robin Wilt, for a Kick-Off Event. Complete with a DJ, games and candidate information the Kick-Off Event is part of a busy election season for the College Democrats. According to President and junior Hannah Schwager, this year the group is focusing on more local issues.
Why did you pick this Senate candidate to bring in tonight?
It was kind of like the more local the better. A lot of people know who is running for Governor and who’s running for the U.S. Senate, Gillibrand and Schumer. A lot of people don’t know within Monroe County who is running. We wanted to up awareness of that, [especially] because a lot of college students register [to vote] in Rochester.
What other ways are you guys going to be active leading up to the election?
For the next two weeks, we are going to be tabling with candidate information, so come by Wilson Commons and we’ll be there. We are going to be doing phone banking, so we will be calling on behalf of the different Democratic candidates. We are going to be going to the Monroe County Democratic Committee, which is the headquarters for the local party. We will also be doing volunteer work, canvassing, going door-to-door, phone-banking — get out the vote kind of stuff.
As a college club, do you tend to focus more on national issues or local issues?
It really depends on the semester. This semester, we are more locally focused. For 2008, it was a lot more national — Obama, Senate, Congress type of things — when we had the enthusiasm to push us that far. It kind of varies.
What are the important local issues?
Well, in New York State, we are really pushing for gay marriage because within the State Assembly it is an issue. We have the hydrofracking issue, which is a big [environmental] issue in New York state.
If you could bring in one Democrat that most college students might not have heard of, who would it be and why?
Probably Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House. I think that a lot of people know that she is the Speaker of the House, but don’t know exactly what that entails and what she does. Kind of along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. People know their names but might not know 100 percent what their role is.
For the average UR student, perhaps one majoring in the sciences, why should they get involved with other College Democrats or other political organizations?
For the average college student, everyone is yelling at you, “Get involved, get involved.” It’s a really easy way to get started at a local level and have a lot of opportunities. One day a week, or one time, you can go out and make phone calls for a candidate you actually care about. There are little things that do make a difference that everyone can do. You don’t have to be a political science major to do it.