Campus voters air election concerns
Posted March 14, 2008

Amid the excitement and optimism that this election exudes, many new opinions have been presented for the direction of our country.

Numerous primaries and caucasses have already passed, to the point that many voters already know a fair deal about what each candidate stands for.

But the issues that are increasingly important are those that belong to the voters, and what drives them to determine their Nov. 4 choices.

Yet while political buzz dominates online news Web sites, blogs and TV, some at the University of La Verne still feel ambivalent about what political party to side with, and which issues matter the most to them.

“I’m still uncertain between voting Democrat or Republi­can,” Nicee Gonzalez, a freshman music major, said.

Being born and raised in Southern California is one of the main factors for some in considering a candidate. A state with many environmental challenges, many at ULV and statewide feel that healing the environment should be high on a potential president’s list.

“I am concerned about the effects of global warming, and what we can do in the next 20 years,” said Melloney Collier, a junior and English major.

For those like Pam Mauna­kea, departmental business manager of athletics, voting Republican is attractive because of the candidate’s military emphasis.

“I’m voting for John McCain because he has the military experience and understanding of dealing with the war on terror,” Maunakea said.

Some ULV students say their views have been influenced by their professors.

“Here we have liberal teachers, and they influence our world view,” said Tara Nichols, a junior art history major.

While classroom education is one influence, a general understanding of national and worldwide issues is an important component for political competence.

“My ability to understand the world around me is my main influence,” Maunakea said.

As important as it is to have a general understanding of the issues and the candidates who bring them forth, some of the topics remain confusing to voters here.

Better health care is a big concern to some on campus, though many say they are still confused as to what each candidate would bring to the healthcare equation.

“I just want someone who offers better health insurance, namely Obama, since there are many who needs it but don’t have it,” Collier said.

Another issue of political influence is the role of the church.

“The church definitely has an influence on voting. For instance, Republicans tend to be more conservative and (religious). But we need separation of church and state,” Nichols said.

Though the direction of the race is still uncertain, there is one certain theme of anticipation: change.

“It’s not just about one particular issue, or just about a female or male president. It’s about all of us,” Collier said. “I’m just drawn to the idea of change. America needs change.”

Lesley Michaels can be reached at lmichaels@ulv.edu.

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