'Speak Up, Speak Out' present opposing viewpoints for upcoming 2014 elections

Daytona Niles | Staff Photographer The Panel listens to the students questions during Speak up Speak out in the Library auditorium Thursday night.

There is no doubting that the election between a Republican or Democrat chair is an ongoing battle, however, there is always doubt in what voters will favor.

The student forum, Speak Up, Speak Out, discussed proposals and issues from both political parties that will affect the nation and state as the 2014 Michigan governor and senate elections begin next fall.

Political Science professor David Jesuit facilitated the panel event Thursday at the Charles V. Park Library Auditorium and moderated it.

“People are beginning to think of the upcoming election,” he said. “The general public is not as aware, but by next fall, I want students to be aware and become active in society.”

The discussion began with an informative clip and was then followed by a panel made up of of Andrea LaFontaine, state representative for Michigan’s 32nd district, Chad Livengood of The Detroit News, Nancy Quarles, Oakland County commissioner and member of the Michigan Democratic Party, Hayley Alderman of College Democrats and Casey Kreiner of College Republicans.

With contrasting viewpoints, each panelist spoke on behalf of their party and their beliefs, which was presented early in the discussion. LaFontaine said she thinks Gov. Rick Snyder will continue with the Michigan "comeback," and that you can feel the tidal wave.

“I agree with LaFontaine about Michigan coming back,” said College Democrat Alderman, “but coming back from the failures of Rick Snyder.”

Expected proposals to shape the country started a conversation that quickly escalated into a discussion of which issues needed to be amended, which included unemployment rate, minimum wage, road damages, social concerns, emergency management, popular concerns with education funds and the LGBTQ community.

At a college campus, education funds are important issue that became a main focus, in which audience members made sure to ask about fund cuts becoming a state concern for the governor election.

“You call them cuts, I call them fiscal responsibility,” LaFontaine said. “The cuts were necessary, the budget needed help and to be balanced. We can sit here and point fingers behind this party and that party, but really it's all theory based.”

Bringing the discussion to a national level regarding Senate position, Quarles said this election is going to be efficient by looking at infrastructure.

“We need someone who has been there, and understands what is needed for the state of Michigan,” she said. “This will bring our policies and issues forefront.”

Audience member and Vestaberg junior Samuel McNerney, asked for no silver lining and to hear the negative side when the panel discussed gay marriage.

“Some speakers remained silent in certain issues," McNerney said. "I understand that gay marriage may not be the biggest factor in comparison to fiscal issues, but it is still an issue that I want recognition from Republicans. One of the biggest issues comes down to people saying money matters more than people.”


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