College Democrats sponsor weekend rallies

Brianna Stapleton

If you’ve looked down at the sidewalks this past week, you will have noticed the many chalk messages relating to the election.
Many of these messages promoted this past weekend’s political rallies sponsored by the College Democrats. There were events scheduled the evenings of both Nov. 3 and 4 in Riverview featuring local candidates speaking on key issues.
The Nov. 3 event did not quite go as planned, reported Dorothy Wickens of the College Democrats’ executive board.
Steve Kagen and Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton were scheduled to speak in Riverview, but Lawton had a scheduling conflict and Kagen chose to speak to students in Downer.
“We apologize for misadvertising that event,” said Wickens.
Wickens was pleased, however, with the Saturday evening rally. About 30 students and faculty members attended apart from the regular members of the College Democrats.
Penny Bernard Schaber, candidate for state assembly, spoke at the rally along with sheriff candidate Travis Thyssen. In addition to candidates, two active members of the county and state Democratic Party, Jeff Hall and Dottie LeClair, were on hand to speak.
“The attendees were really engaged with our speakers and got to ask whatever pressing questions they have,” said sophomore James Duncan-Welke.
The speakers stressed the marriage amendment issue as well as healthcare, opposition to voter IDs, the war in Iraq, and the death penalty. They also encouraged participants to simply get out and vote and encourage friends to do the same.
“We college students are the future, and if we don’t take our future into our hands, it may be destroyed before we get there,” said Duncan-Welke in a recap of the rally.
Organizing the event was a team effort for the group. The entire executive board of the College Democrats was involved. Candidate Thyssen was actually responsible for the rally idea, having had visited a College Democrats meeting earlier this year and suggesting an on-campus event.
Wickens was happy to have several candidates visit campus. “We contacted as many candidates as we could. This close to the election they were really busy, so we were lucky to get who we did.”
Posters were made to represent the candidates who couldn’t attend the rally, including Jim Doyle, Steve Kagen and Kathleen Falk.
College Democrats president Ryan Day said, “I think it was quite a success, considering the usual turnouts that political events tend to get on campus.”
He joked, “You can always measure an event’s success by the amount of food consumed, and our food was almost gone.”
Day feels that, on a local scale, Penny Schaber and Steve Kagen are the crucial Democratic candidates. “Both of them see many problems in the way politics are currently run and want to make changes for the better.”
Meetings for the College Democrats take place at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays in the fourth floor lounge of Hiett Hall. Students interested in getting involved can e-mail
The group will be quieting down after the election, but planning will soon begin for College Democrats week winter term.