Students play primary role

By Rob Warren

Saturday morning excursions into surrounding cities to distribute political literature or working at phone banks urging voters to pick a candidate are not the average student pastime.

Primary elections will be held Tuesday, March 21 and politically motivated students are volunteering for both local and statewide campaigns.

“It’s silly to think that every democrat agrees with me,” said Francisco Melli-Huber, junior in Engineering. “So the primaries are especially important because it’s when you decide which party member represents you.”

Melli-Huber has been working in the phone bank in Democrat David Gill’s U.S. congressional campaign.

Actually changing someone’s mind is a rarity, Melli-Huber said, but if the information about a candidate’s beliefs matches a voter’s viewpoint the voter will support that candidate. So, spreading information is very important to a campaign, he added.

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    “I’m not sure we’ve changed a lot of minds, people are pretty stubborn when it comes to politics,” said Jacob Smallhorn, junior in LAS, who is volunteering in multiple Democrat campaigns. “The best you can do is inform people and let them make the decision that suits them.”

    Justin Randall, sophomore in LAS, is volunteering in Republican Bill Brady’s gubernatorial campaign. Getting involved in a campaign is key to making the right choice in an election, he said.

    “Honestly getting involved in a campaign lets you get to know a candidate,” Randall said. “Getting involved in a campaign gives you the most informed decision. I’ve worked for candidates, haven’t enjoyed it, changed my mind, and switched campaigns.”

    Randall said he enjoyed working for Brady’s campaign because he felt he was helping others make the right choice.

    Brady’s campaign has put together a pamphlet not just describing Brady’s political views, but also comparing those views with Brady’s opponents in the primary, Randall said.

    Paul Schmitt, freshman in LAS volunteering for local candidate Republican Mark Randall’s county board member campaign, said he is concerned mostly about local candidates because they have the greatest effect on student lives.

    “We know the local candidates through volunteering and they’re important because they are going to have the greatest effect on student lives,” Schmitt said. “They are going to influence the rules on drinking ages in bars, policing of students, and so on.”

    Although volunteering is a good experience and an important part of civic duty Smallhorn said he looked forward to an end.

    “I’m glad the primaries are coming up,” he said. “Honestly, I’m feeling burned out.”