ISU College Republicans focus on education

Matt Wettengel

While most students were enjoying the first Saturday after classes, members of the ISU College Republicans were attending the Polk County summer picnic and listening to GOP presidential candidates Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Thaddeus McCotter discuss their presidential intentions.

Though the race to secure the GOP nomination remains in its infancy, Ben Gremel and Stephen Quist joined approximately 300 people at the Polk County summer picnic to hear the three candidates speak.

“I think gaining name recognition for a lot of these candidates is the most important thing that they can do,” said Gremel, senior in marketing. “To tell you the truth, six months ago I couldn’t tell you who Rick Perry was.”

Despite his “late” entry into the GOP’s pool of candidates — officially announcing his bid for the presidency on Aug. 13 — Perry has jumped to the lead in national polls, despite a lack of presence at events like the Ames Straw Poll where he finished sixth as a write-in candidate.

Perry’s popularity was evident at the Polk County picnic as he commandeered the spotlight upon arrival and commanded the majority of the crowd’s attention throughout McCotter’s speech.

One common theme throughout the three candidates’ presentations was an emphasis on fiscal reform. Accordingly, Gremel and Quist agree that fiscal issues will and should be the dominant issue throughout the course of the nomination process.

“Obviously we have a huge debt; social security, Medicare and Medicaid are all in trouble and they’re all insolvent if we don’t do something about them and our generation is the one that’s going to have to pay the price,” said Quist, chairman of ISU College Republicans.

When it comes to choosing a candidate, both Gremel and Quist agreed it’s too early to make a definite decision, but that a thorough knowledge of the candidates and issues is key.

“If [college students] are educated at all on politics, normally they’re only educated on one side,” Quist said.

The ISU College Republicans will be meeting with the head of the Iowa State College Democrats to collaborate their efforts in educating students throughout the course of the school year.

“Regardless of how we think we should solve the issue, you should get yourself educated because there are obviously different feelings on both sides of the aisle, but people need to educate themselves and do research and make an educated decision on how they want to solve it,” Quist said.

“We’re just trying to reach across the aisle — Washington has become so divisive now a days and our generation has grown up in that,” Quist said. “We have to make sure not to make it worse, we do have to work with each other at some point.”