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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Collegiate partisans tackle topics of day

[media-credit name=’AJ Maclean’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]Debate_AM_400[/media-credit]Although the four student representatives at Tuesday’s College Democrats versus College Republicans session sat a few inches apart, their stance on hot-button issues set them miles apart.

Tuesday night’s meeting, organized by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG), took place at the Bradley Residence Hall Social Basement while a moderator shot questions to the young politicos.

The University of Wisconsin student representatives, Chair of College Democrats Liz Sanger, Bill Anderson from the Green Flash Progressive Alliance, College Republicans member Chirag Shah, and Paul Heideman from Students for Nader, answered according to their respective viewpoints.


They tried to reach their student audience by discussing topics such as education, a possible military draft and women’s rights.

Anderson led the debate on education by labeling higher education a “basic human right” for all people regardless of their socio-economic status.

As Sanger joined the conversation, she eyed the room full of students and assured them Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry would increase funding to Pell Grants to ensure they keep up with rising tuition costs.

Shah added President Bush has already increased funding to education more than any other president in U.S. history because he believes it’s the backbone of a strong economy. He also said the Bush administration boosted the finances supporting Pell Grants.

However, Heideman argued a growing poverty rate necessitated the need for more money for Pell Grants. He then challenged Bush’s contribution to the economy by pointing out cuts to workers’ hours and wages.

Heideman also addressed the “racist” war on drugs under the current administration.

He said Nader would decriminalize marijuana-related offenses.

“[These offenders] hurt no one [by using marijuana] except possibly themselves, and that isn’t even entirely proven by medicine,” Heideman said.

Following suit from the presidential debates, the conversation turned to military topics.

“[America] shouldn’t invade any country that looks at us wrong,” Heideman said, and also told students that Nader did not support the war in Iraq or any resulting military draft: “No war means no draft.”

While Anderson and Sanger expressed Kerry’s and the Green Party’s David Cobb’s opposition to a draft, Shah turned the audience attention to Democrat Charles Rangel, N.Y., who recently introduced a bill to Congress to reinstate the military draft.

“When a bill is introduced out of spite … it becomes insulting to the process,” Shah said, referring to Sanger’s earlier comment that Rangel did not necessarily introduce the bill with the intention of voting for it.

The four students also appealed to their female peers by discussing women’s rights issues, such as abortion.

Shah said he would not mince words, and partial-birth abortion was “reprehensible for what is life.”

“Bush believes the life of the woman is very sacred and so are her decisions, which should come from a strong ethical code,” Shah said, adding the phrase “W” stood for women.

Sanger noted she was personally offended by the above phrase.

“Bush isn’t pro-life. He is pro-birth,” Sanger said. “He wants to get that baby out, but he’ll leave it in the dust once it’s born.”

However, Shah and Sanger’s closing statements agreed on one thing: students should decide what issues they value most and vote accordingly.

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