Representative debates spark political interest among students

By Paolo Cisneros and Sarah Small

Jen Sullivan, senior in LAS, didn’t think much about Champaign-Urbana politics before this academic year.

Despite being a student at the University, her exposure to candidates for local offices was often limited at best.

Now, though, thanks in part to the part to the presence of candidate debates on the local political scene, her interest in smaller races has grown.

State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-103 and Republican challenger and Frank Calabrese, senior in LAS, have participated in roughly 6 debates since the beginning of the election season, Calabrese estimates.

Calabrese and Jakobsson met Tuesday night in a debate co-sponsored by The Daily Illini. Monday night, Jakobsson, Calabrese and Democratic candidate for the 15th Congressional district Steve Cox met in the Champaign City Council Chambers as part of a candidate forum sponsored by the Champaign County League of Women Voters.

Also participating in the forum were the Rep. Tim Johnson, R-15, incumbent candidate for representative of the 15th Congressional district, and Janie Miller-Jones (R) and Julia Rietz (D), candidates for Champaign County State’s Attorney.

In past weeks, University students interested in the political discourse of the area have been attending the various debates.

“I’ve lived here for the past two summers, and I realize the impact the University has on the community,” Sullivan said.