Amid elections for Associated Students of Madison representatives, state Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, visited College Republicans at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to discuss hot-button issues and drive home the importance of fighting for conservative values.

Before the senator took the stage at Science Hall Tuesday, CR members were first reminded to vote in the 2017 spring ASM election. Leaders of the group placed an emphasis on putting conservative members in office, and reiterated that “it only took two minutes to make a difference.”

Testin, an UW- Stevens Point graduate, kicked off the meeting by stating College Republicans are “tough.” Describing his own experience as a College Republican during the 2008 election, he said he understands the difficulty of standing up for controversial beliefs, but emphasized the importance of not staying silent in the face of opposition.

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The Madison native praised the role of the student organization in today’s political environment. He said their efforts — not just top political leaders — are influential in today’s  political changes.

“You guys get elected officials coming here all the time, right? They tell you ‘you guys are the future of the party’ . . . well, I’m here to tell you that you guys aren’t the future of the Republican Party. You know why? You guys are the Republican Party,” Testin said.

In terms of education, Testin said Wisconsin needs to focus on training workers and should fit the needs of employers. As the world has become more high-tech, the need for workers has increased exponentially, he added.

Testin also brought up was agricultural sustainability in Wisconsin. He recently who co-authored a bill to legalize hemp, which is found in paper and food products and has a THC concentration too small to produce a high, in Wisconsin.

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In addition, Testin said hemp can be used for medical purposes, such as preventing seizures.