UAF Campus Democrats host event in The Pub

John Seiler/Sun Star Reporter
November 6, 2012

With the election heading towards the home stretch, the UAF Campus Democrats got the word out with local Fairbanks candidates and political discussions at the Wood Center Conference Room and The Pub Thursday night.

UAF Campus Democrats president Tom Allen and Event Coordinator of Interior Democrats of Alaska, Grace Singh, reactivated the club this year after a hiatus. The club put on two open discussions about the upcoming elections. District 4 candidate Scott Kawaski and District 5 candidate David Watts were guest speakers.

The meeting started 7 p.m. Thursday for members under 21. Joey Sweet, a 20-year-old sophomore, is a member of the club and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in September. Despite not being old enough for The Pub discussion, Sweet looked forward to the activities leading up to Election Day and learning more about Alaskan issues.

“Last Drinking Liberally before the Election” started at The Pub at 8 p.m. with Kawasaki, Watts and eight others club members  to discuss  issues that have been important in this year’s election, such as university student debt and a $2 billion tax giveaway.

Watts spoke about House Bill 110, the Governor’s Oil Tax Reform Bill, which would be a production tax on oil and gas. Watts described the bill as a supposed $2 billion tax giveaway from the state which could result in potential loss in investments, including UAF schooling.

Watts said that he didn’t want to see any tuition hikes and a 50 percent forgiveness of student loans to help keep people in state.

The students also discussed UA President Pat Gamble’s recent comments on student debt and lifestyle choices.

“When I was a college student, there was an $8,500 student loan available to me,” Kawasaki said. “That was 15 years ago and now it hasn’t changed any but the costs have gone up.”

Kawasaki talked about how important need based scholarships are and that students should be denied a good education because they are poor.  Future education funding will be based on HB 110’s success.

“When you got $2 billion less to spend in the state, you can’t put $2 billion in savings, you can’t invest in college, you can’t invest in power plants, new facilities, you can’t invest in need based scholarships or needs based tuition,” Kawasaki said.

Kawaski drove home how important it is for young voters participate in elections.

“Young people more then anything need to vote in this election because young people are disproportionately impacted by the laws that we are passing,” Kawasaki said. “We need to make sure the next generation is set.”

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