College political groups trade thoughts in debate

Solomon Keithley

The final weeks of the campaign season might be filled with televised debates between presidential nominees, but here on campus, two groups decided to organize a much more localized debate.

On Thursday, Sept. 27, 50 eager people gathered in Eaton Hall for a debate between the Republican and Democratic students at Iowa State.

The Republican Party was represented by Kyle Etzel, junior in pre-business; Andrew Streit, freshman in aerospace engineering; Khayree Anthony, freshman in political science; and Jonathan Laudner, sophomore in pre-business.

The Democratic Party was represented by Spencer Hughes, junior in speech communication; Ross Kimm junior in finance; and Anne Hartnett, junior in finance.

Organized to be an interactive with the questions and responses, the debate allowed each side a chance to share its views on each topic.

One of the first questions asked was: “What is your party’s stance on marriage?”

The Democrats answered first, saying President Barack Obama was the first sitting president to come out and support same sex marriage. They continued on to say love is love and that same sex marriage is still marriage. They believe Obama has always supported marriage equality, even though he hadn’t proclaimed publicly it until recently.

The Republicans responded saying Mitt Romney supports the same view Barack Obama supported six months ago, before he came out and publicly supported gay marriage. The ISU Republicans said they support, like most Republicans, the federal government staying out governing marriage or trying to dictate love to anyone.

Another hot topic was Obamacare. The question for Republicans was what new type of health care Romney would provide instead of Obamacare, and the question for the Democrats was what modifications would need to be made to the system.

The Republican side started off by saying Obamacare hasn’t been able to do what it was originally intending to do. They said it was forcing people to purchase a service and that forcing someone to pay for something just because they are living takes away from the American freedom. The Republicans said they are wanting to get rid of Obamacare and start from scratch.

The Democrats replied saying that right now, for the first time, if someone have a pre-existing condition, that person cannot be denied coverage by his or her insurance company. They said young adults can stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26, which affects most students. They said it will save $124 billion in costs over the next decade. While the Democrat students did say there is a lot of work to still be done, they also pointed out Americans spend the most on health care of any country, yet are 38th in life expectancy.

The debate closed with final thoughts from each side, with both sides giving reasons for why their presidential nominee should be elected, and a final emphasis on encouraging people to get registered to vote.

One of the Democratic representatives, Hughes summarized the debate afterward.

“I thought the debate went very well,” he said, “It’s always good to be able to have that discourse between two groups that disagree, whether it be political or otherwise. … I also thought it went very well because we explained our position, our position of the president and of [Christie] Vilsack, [candidate for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District,] really well. Because ultimately when people hear their messages, they’re going to agree with them. We really do believe that.”

Republican representative Etzel wrapped up his thoughts on the debate.

“The main message that we would like to make is that there is no hate campaign going on, on our side,” Etzel said. “We try to keep it as positive as possible. I know that’s a big issue for Steve King, [incumbent candidate for Iowa’s 4th District,] and Mitt Romney: keeping a positive campaign. And on that note, obviously we are trying to get Romney and King elected, and to balance the budget and get our economic house in order.”