In an attempt to stir up student enthusiasm over the upcoming state elections, Democratic representatives from the New York legislature and candidates in tomorrow’s election held a rally on Friday in Ho Plaza.
The rally, which was sparsely attended mainly by Cornell supporters of the Democratic party, was held to “raise awareness and get students to vote on Tuesday,” according to president of the Cornell Democrats, Jamison Moore ’04.
Echoing that sentiment, Democratic County Chair Irene Stein commended the rally, as it was intended to “mobilize Cornell’s community and remind them of the strength of the Democratic candidates before the election.”
Stein began the rally by campaigning for Carl McCall for governor and Eliot Spitzer for attorney general. “McCall believes that everyone deserves an education. He understands what it means in a person’s life,” she said.
Stein went even further to speak out against Republican candidate for governor, George Pataki. “Pataki has twelve times the amount of money McCall has. McCall will be elected by the people, not by money.”
She also touched upon Spitzer’s dedication to helping workers and the environment.
Also present was Sheriff Peter Meskill, who encouraged students to vote in the election. Meskill cited as a part of his platform his aggressive traffic and safety program, which has reduced death and loss in the area.
Barbara Lifton, Democratic candidate for Assembly of the 125th district, followed Meskill. Lifton mainly stressed the need for higher education in her speech.
“I will fight for more funding for SUNY schools and fight against an increased tuition at SUNY. I will fight for funding so that students won’t have to leave college because they cannot afford it,” Lifton said.
In addition, Lifton spoke of the need for greater job creation in upstate New York, stating that most jobs in the area are “retail and service sector jobs which, on average, have lower wages and fewer benefits such as health care.”
Lifton also promised her allegiance to greater environmental protection, advocating air-pollution standards that meet those of California.
Democratic congressional candidate Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) was unable to attend the rally. Dan Lamb spoke in his place, delivering a speech in which he referred to Hinchey as “a friend to students” because of Hinchey’s role in “bringing millions of dollars to Cornell’s research and development programs” and for his help in establishing various scholarship programs. Lamb ran earlier this year for the Democratic nomination for State Assembly. Lifton won that race in September.
Lamb directly attacked the Republican party in his speech through statements such as, “It takes a Republican to pass the largest tax cut. It takes a Democrat to fix it,” and “It takes a Republican to cut the PTA’s budget. It takes a Democrat to fix it.”
Lam concluded by adding, “We need to send our opponents and their right-wing views packing.”
Despite the small number of students in attendance, those who were present seemed impressed by the rally.
“The speakers did a good job highlighting the differences between the two parties and noting the urgency of Democrats getting their voices heard,” said Jonah Green ’06.
“When students vote, students win,” Moore said.
Archived article by Priya Ravishankar