U.S. Rep. Gary Peters speaks to College Democrats


U.S. Representative and Senate hopeful Gary Peters called for students to get involved and raise awareness about the upcoming elections during a meet-and-greet event Monday.

The candidate for U.S. Senate was invited to campus by the College Democrats registered student organization and the Isabella County Democratic Party. During the event, he answered questions from students and laid out his views on issues facing Michigan.

“This meeting was about introducing the candidates and the issues to the students,” said Taylor Gehrcke, president of College Democrats. "We want to make sure that they know who's running and who the group supports."

Peters is the representative for Michigan's 14th District in the Detroit area and a member of the House Financial Services Committee. He served as a political science professor at Central Michigan University for one year in 2007.

He hopes to win the Senate seat held by Carl Levin, who chose not to seek re-election. He is running against Republican candidate Terri Lynn Land, the former Michigan Secretary of State.

Peters said the Republicans are relying on expensive ad campaigns and suggested a different route for his campaign.

"Our strategy has to be about grassroots activism, about getting out there and being engaged," Peters said. "Getting Democrats out to vote is the main thing."

When asked about his education policies, Peters said he is working on legislation that would give students a second chance if they default on a student loan. The first default would not affect the student's credit report if they were able to make the necessary payments within nine months.

Isabella County Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Barker worked with the College Democrats to bring Peters to CMU. Her husband, John Barker, recently withdrew his bid for Michigan's 4th Congressional District to endorse new Democratic candidate Jeffrey Holmes.

"It's good for students to meet the candidates, because a lot of them don't know who's running in the major races," Barker said. "We set this up to educate them about the elections."

Mark Schauer, the Democratic candidate for governor, also made an appearance at the event. Schauer, who is running against Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Snyder, stressed his focus on making college tuition more affordable.


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