UI political groups react to outcome of 2004 election

By Ryan Hall

It has been one week since Election Day, and University political groups are reforming themselves in the aftermath. While some groups are coasting on the wake, others are preparing for the future.

College Republicans president Matt Diller said he was pleased with election results.

“We were all very happy to see the president re-elected,” said Diller, a former Illini Media Company employee.

With a gain of Republican seats in Congress, Diller said President Bush could accomplish tasks such as cutting the national deficit in half and reforming the tax code.

Although the Republicans achieved success on the national level, local races were not as rewarding for the party.

“Locally, we were disappointed with the state-representative race,” Diller said, referring to Deborah Frank Feinen’s loss in the 103rd district to incumbent Democrat Naomi Jakobsson.

Changes are in order for the College Republicans, as they are voting in a new president of their own this week when Diller steps down.

“I’m graduating this year, so there’s no need for me to run,” he said.

College Democrats are taking election results in stride, despite losing the presidential race.

“We have kind of mixed reactions,” said College Democrats president Erin Janulis. “I think the results were promising for Illinois, but disheartening nationally.”

Janulis, senior in LAS, said she felt college students showed tremendous support for the presidential and senate races, but seemed to forget the importance of local races.

Janulis also said College Democrats are not hostile toward College Republicans and that the groups sometimes work hand in hand at rallies and events.

“As long as we stay focused, not be partisan and try to accomplish things, we can work together,” Janulis said.

When looking ahead to the 2008 election, Janulis said it is still unclear who may run for president, but she feels Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is a strong possibility.

“I have a lot of female friends who think it is time for a woman president,” she said.

While there are no national or state elections any time soon, Janulis said the group will be staying active on campus and keeping people involved.

Susan Rodgers, president of the Campus Greens, said the group was disappointed with election results.

“I don’t think any of us were shocked when Bush won,” she said.

Rodgers, sophomore in LAS, said the organization was focused more on local elections.

“Our main goal is to establish the party in this district,” she said.

The Green Party had three candidates running for the Champaign County Board, including Rodgers. Rodgers said the group was happy with the percentage of votes received and is moving on to other projects.

“We are a very active group,” she said.

Rodgers added that the Campus Greens plan on working in the upcoming park district and city council appointments, as well as the mayoral race.

The future remains cloudy for College Libertarians, who are still straddling the fence over the election results.

College Libertarians president Justin Doran said the group is conflicted between being happy and depressed.

“We thought Kerry would lose because he took too long to decide his position,” said Doran, sophomore in engineering.

Doran said he hopes the addition of Republican seats will allow the new administration to reform social security and reduce taxes.

Doran also said the College Libertarian’s main complaint about the Bush administration was over the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act.

“It’s a spit in the face of civil liberties,” he said.

The Patriot Act, adopted in 2001, grants money to government agencies to fight terrorism. It has been the subject of controversy as it allows private records to be monitored, even without an individual knowing.

Doran also said the group will wait and see who fills Attorney General John Ashcroft’s position to decide if they will be optimistic or pessimistic, as they blame Ashcroft for the Patriot Act.

“We think the administration doesn’t take civil liberties seriously,” he said.

As for the election, Doran said Libertarian candidates did not achieve ideal results because the electoral system does not promote third parties.

With the election over, Doran said there are no immediate plans for his organization.

“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” he said.