September 21, 2007

C.U. Democrats Aim to Register 1,000 For ’08 Election

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“People think that Cornell students are apathetic. We’re not apathetic, we’re busy,” said Randy Lariar ’08, president of Cornell Democrats.
With this in mind, and with the presidential primaries approaching, the Cornell Democrats are trying to involve students in politics with voter registration drives, speakers and debates. The organization is also planning at least one trip to New Hampshire to campaign during the presidential primaries.
Abbye Goldberg ’10 is participating in the Cornell Democrats’ effort to register 1,000 students to vote. She would like to see more student involvement and voter participation.
“[Voting] is the only way we can control our country,” Goldberg said.
The drive, which began on North Campus yesterday, is completely non-partisan. The organization is looking to register as many students as possible, regardless of their political affiliation.
The Democrats will not be backing a specific presidential candidate before the primaries in February determine the official nominee.
“What we’re trying do this semester is to foster the debate. We’re encouraging our members to get involved in organizing and campaigning for their favorite candidate,” said Lariar.
Although the group will not pledge support to an individual candidate before next semester, many members are choosing sides.
There are Cornell Democrats who are organizing in support of Democrats John Edwards, Joe Biden (Del.) and Clinton (N.Y.). One former member of the Cornell Democrats has even left Cornell to take a permanent position with the Biden campaign. Barack Obama (Ill.), however, is one of the favorites among left-leaning students.
Michael Mouton ’10, speakers chair for the Cornell Democrats as well as the communications director for Cornell Students for Barack Obama said, “I think he appeals to college students.”
He cited Obama’s plans for dealing with education and the Iraq War as the main issues that draw students to his campaign.
“I believe we should leave Iraq, but I believe that we should do it responsibly, and I think that Barack Obama is going to do that,” said Mouzon.
With regards to recent attacks on Obama’s lack of experience in national politics, Mouzon said, “I think college students [see] that it’s not about experience so much as substance and [making] the right decisions at the right times.”
Health care, workers rights, education and especially the War in Iraq are all key issues for Cornell Democrats.
Catrina Dwyer ’09, however, favors Hillary Clinton. She approves of Clinton’s views on international diplomacy and thought that they were well articulated in the CNN YouTube Debate. Dwyer was also impressed by the Senator’s plan for universal healthcare, released earlier this week.
“I wasn’t initially for universal healthcare, but after reading her plan I think it makes a lot of sense,” said Dwyer.
The Cornell Democrats are also very involved in local politics. One of their members, Svante Myrick ’09, is running for Ithaca City Council. Myrick is the Democratic Candidate for Representative of the Fourth Ward, a student dominated district that includes CollegeTown and West Campus. The Cornell Democrats are collaborating on events with Myrick’s campaign this semester, such as the upcoming voter registration drive.
Another local election that the organization is involved in is New York’s 29th congressional district election, where Democratic candidate Eric Massa hopes to oust the Republican incumbent Randy Kuhl in November.
Massa spoke on campus earlier in the semester, and Cornell Democrats are becoming active in his campaign. Earlier this week they sent two representatives to a rally in his favor.
“Our purpose for bringing people like Eric Massa to campus and organizing all of these events is to promote a positive vision of government, of progressive values of equality and fairness, and also during election time to help the Democrats we believe embody those values win,” said Lariar.
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