Vilsack inspires Iowa State students

Christie Vilsack talks with students in the Hixon-Lied Center on Sept. 20, 2012.

Solomon Keithley

Twenty people gathered in Hixson-Lied Student Success Center on Thursday night for a question-and-answer session with Christie Vilsack, who is running for congress in Iowa’s 4th District.

The room was talkative and excited before Vilsack arrived; as she entered the room she greeted everyone by shaking their hand and asking where they were from, making a connection with nearly everyone.

Vilsack started of with a brief introduction as to why she decided to run for Iowa Congress and what her main focus for her district is going to be.

“I want to go to Congress because i want to create layers of economic opportunities in small towns. That’s it,” Vilsack said. “And if it doesn’t have to do with that, if it’s not someway connected with that, then it’s sort of off my message.”

Vilsack said small towns have suffered because of the loss of smaller family farms. She is trying to bring people back to small towns with the creation of energy jobs, and keeping people connected through Internet. 

“I think there was a time in the state, where being in a small town was socially isolating in many cases.” Vilsack said. “But now because we can connect people with broadband high-speed Internet, it doesn’t matter where you are because you are with your friends as long as you have your cellphone.”

After her short speech, Vilsack gave ISU students chance to ask her the questions they thought were important.

Andrew Nguyen, senior in math, asked about the difference between her vision for America and her opponent’s, Republican Steve King.

“His goal is to bring America to the right,” Vilsack said. “I’m trying to redefine what it means to be a congressperson. … It used to be [that] your success was defined by if you could bring an earmark, money to a district. … We don’t have earmarks anymore, but I think it should be about building small towns.”

Madeline Becker is the president of the Cyclones for Vilsack group on campus. She has been holding meetings to try and get Vilsack’s name out to students.

“We’re mostly just working on educating people about the race,” Becker said. “Obviously everyone is kind of more focused on the presidential race, but politics at the local level is very important too. We are just trying to make sure everyone’s aware of it and aware of its importance and aware of the importance of getting Christie in office.”

Sam Roecker is Vilsack’s communication director. He expressed why it was important for Vilsack to speak at Iowa State.

“Her message is all about creating jobs and economic opportunity for college students who are graduating and going out to the workforce,” Roecker said. “There are obviously education issues too, such as Pell Grants and the importance of affordable college loans.”

The next scheduled event for Vilsack will be a debate against King on Thursday, Sept. 27, at Northwestern college in Orange City at the Orange City Debate.