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Democratic candidates rally support on campus

On Thursday, Oct. 28, the Iowa Democratic Party campaign bus let off at Grinnell College. Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge, U.S. Representative Leonard Boswell and a host of other elected and campaigning Iowa Democrats stepped into JRC 101. They addressed an audience of students and townspeople for about an hour as they discussed key issues of the campaign season.

Republicans are leading in polls of many important races in Iowa, including those for Governor and U.S. Senator. Candidates for U.S. Representative and Iowa Representative positions for Grinnell’s district are polling even.

Democrat Meeting
Co-Chair of the Poweshiek County Democrats introduces State Represenstive Eric Palmer in JRC 101 on Thursday, Oct. 29. Palmer was one of many democratic candidates to speak - Abraham Kohrman

Incumbent State Representative Eric Palmer made it clear he wants everyone in the Grinnell Community to vote.

“Just think about civil rights, where we were at four years ago,” he said. “Knock on doors, make phone calls, talk to neighbors and friends and drag them to vote.”

Chief among the key issues in this election is marriage equality. Three of the Iowa Supreme Court Justices who unanimously ruled that a ban on gay marriage was against the Iowa Constitution could be removed from office. Many Republican groups, including many from outside of Iowa, are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars campaigning to vote out the justices.

Roxanne Conlin, who is running for U.S. Senator against incumbent Charles Grassley, urged attendees to vote “yes” on confirming the judges.

She also urged the audience to motivate others to vote.

“We have five whole days to get every last person to vote,” she said.

Lt. Governor Patty Judge strayed away from promising a boost in job opportunities or wages, pointing to education and renewable energy as investments on the future.

“I’m not going to tell you we’re going to create 300,000 jobs next year … that’s silly. Let’s talk about what we can do. We can tell you that we can work on getting all children preschool education,” Judge said. “We have programs to train people to work in renewable energy. That is our future.”

Gracie Brandsgard ’14 attended the event and especially agreed with Judge’s stance on preschool education.

“I think she did a good job,” Brandsgard said. “Preschool is important because if you want to give the children of Iowa a good head-start, that’s where you start.”

Judge also claimed that because Iowa is currently financially stable, the state can afford to provide a tax cut for middle class workers.

“We are proposing a tax cut of 100 dollars for anyone who’s making under 100,000. It may be small, but this is your money and it’s going back to you instead of giving it to BP,” she said.

Jon Murphy, who is running for Iowa State Auditor, stressed how important it is for the state auditor to do his job so that Iowa does not lose its credit bond rating of “AAA.” This rating, the highest possible, was given to Iowa by Moody’s, a national bond-rating agency in 2008. In order to allow more future economic growth Iowa needs to keep the high mark.

“Iowa needs to remain a financially stable state,” he said.

The Campus Democrats faciliated the candidates’ visit to Grinnell in an effort to increases the number of college voters.  Approximately 400 students have voted thus far, with two voting days remaining. However, that figure is down from years past.

“We had an initial target, and it was higher than what we got [so far],” said Co-Chair of the Campus Democrats Phil Sletten ’11. “But it was an ambitious target and we still have an early voting day on Saturday—it’s not here, but it’s at Drake Library—and then we have election day [Nov. 2] which is 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and we’re expecting to get a good number of people there.”

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 30, the Campus Democrats will be providing rides from the JRC to Drake Library for early voting.

“We encourage people to really vote on Saturday,” Sletten said. “And if you haven’t received your absentee ballot [for out of state voting], and certainly if you haven’t requested it yet, it’s too late, and it’s better to vote somewhere than nowhere.”

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