Caucus Cup kicks off First Amendment Day celebrations

Moderator Thomas Beell, professor of journalism and communication, starts the debate between the College Republicans and ISU College Democrats on Tuesday, April 10, in the South Ballroom in the Memorial Union. The topic was tax breaks.

Morgan Fleener

Approximately 75 people gathered in the South Ballroom of the Memorial Union on Tuesday night to witness the victory of the ISU College Democrats over the College Republicans to start off First Amendment Day events.

Judged by Michael Belding, opinion editor of the Iowa State Daily; Michael Dahlstrom, assistant professor of journalism and communication; and Jean Goodwin, associate professor of English, the teams each had 26 minutes to support and oppose the resolutions made during the debate.

The ISU College Democrats — represented by Michael Glawe, junior in finance and Daily opinion columnist; Annie Hartnett, sophomore in pre-business; Spencer Hughes, sophomore in speech communication; and Ross Kimm, sophomore in finance — explained why they believe the Bush tax cuts should be eliminated in the United States.

“Our economy and society will be happier, healthier and more productive if one group does not exceed because of another,” Kimm said. “The American treasure is for all, not just for some, and everyone should be taken into account when making decisions.”

Opposing the beliefs of the Democrats, the team of Forrest Irvine, junior in political science; David Pedersen, sophomore in pre-business; Jon Laudner, freshman in pre-business; and Caitlyn Van Dame, senior in history, spoke on their behalf as to why the College Republicans feel the American society has a spending problem, not necessarily a revenue problem.

“Everyone always talks about how bad debt it is, and then we turn around and criticize those who have been willing to save and invest their profits,” Irvine said. “Investing and saving are both good assets.”

As the debate proceeded, each team had the chance to give rebuttal and make claims that could help support or disregard facts made.

Kimm and Laudner each had two minutes to speak on behalf of their team to sum up the main points each team wanted the audience to know and take away from the debate.

“Putting a majority on the fewer people just doesn’t work,” Laudner said. “You can’t have a level playing field with a progressive system.”

Kimm and the Democrats focused on a main idea that the level of playing field should be equal.

“If you work together, play by the rules and take responsibility, success is yours,” Kimm said. “We need to return to a tax code that works, not a tax code that leaves a majority of Americans out.”

After the debate was finished, the audience was allowed to briefly ask questions pointed at either or both teams participating.

For the five questions asked, four questions were pointed at the Republicans and one question was directed toward the Democrats.

During the questionnaire session, what had appeared as a civil debate rose into a pointed and hostile atmosphere with the last question concerning a comment made about people on food stamps and what their employment future withheld.

Closing the awarding of the Caucus Cup, the audience was open to talk further in detail with the debaters and given refreshments.

Abbie Lang, sophomore in finance, was pleased with the turnout of the debate and felt the event ran rather smoothly.

“I feel like both sides have very good points. They did their homework and had good points,” Lang said. “Both the Democrats and Republicans seemed to argue very effectively.”

Hughes appeared joyful and excited to see the ISU College Democrats’ accomplishment of the victory after dedicating many hours of preparation to the event.

“I am very excited that our hard work has finally paid off,” Hughes said. “I am thankful we had the opportunity to speak about such an important issue to the Iowa State community.”

With this event as its kickoff, First Amendment Day will celebrate its 10th annual celebration Thursday as a reminder to the five freedoms that are granted in the U.S. Constitution.