Campus debate offers voter information

Hannah Fermanich

Before heading to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6, NMU’s Students for Liberty invites everyone to come learn more about the candidates and the top issues affecting the country at the Campus Debate on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Student representatives from the democratic, libertarian and republican groups on campus, along with their co-debaters, will be present to discuss major issues from the perspective of both the candidates and their corresponding party.

The goal of the debate is to present attendees with the facts about the election through civil conversation so that they can make informed decisions at the polls.

“We don’t want this to be a fight over petty issues,” said Rachael Fisher, co-president of Students for Liberty. “Education is the main goal.”

According to Fisher, Michigan residents have the most to vote on in the country this election season.

Not only is there the presidential election, but also voting for the different propositions as well as for the 109th district representative in the state legislature.

“It’s exciting that we’re going to see this debated on intelligently,” Fisher said.

Representing the Democratic Party, president of NMU’s College Democrats Drew Janego hopes that this event will help inform students and bring the political conversation back to campus.

“Try and become a more informed voter,” Janego said.

As part of the discussion, Janego plans on talking about the different programs that President Barack Obama has implemented to expand education beyond universities to give more students an opportunity for higher education, according to Janego.

Matthew Holliday, junior mathematics major at NMU, will be representing the lesser-known Libertarian Party and candidate Gary Johnson.

Holliday has been involved with the College Libertarians on campus since its inception and he wants to inform students about the libertarian party and how it’s more than just the middle ground between Republican and Democratic parties.

He plans to talk about important social issues including immigration and the legalization and distribution control of drugs, according to Holliday.

“Saying you’re voting for the lesser of two evils doesn’t absolve you from all responsibility,” Holliday said.

Former College Republican president Justin Bis will be representing the Republican Party at the debate.

He hopes that those who attend the event will be open to hear all sides and ultimately make their decision based on facts.

Bis plans on discussing the job situation in the country and presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s plan to grow the economy.

“I really hope that they’re (students) able to come in with a fair mind to listen to what we have to say,” Bis said.

By bringing this event to Northern, these groups hope not only to inform their peers, but also encourage them to make the change they want to see happen.

“If you really can’t stand how things are going today, get involved and try to change it,” Bis said.

The representatives for each party will answer questions first as to how their candidate would respond, and then based on the views of their parties.

The debate will be moderated by Dr. William Ball and Dr. Ruth Watry, both of whom are professors in the political science department at NMU.

The event will last about two hours, leaving the last hour open to questions from the audience.

The Campus Debate will be held at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30 in Jamrich Room 102. The event is free for students and community members.