Catherine Rivera and Megan Wick came out to the “Meet the Candidates” event Monday night because they wanted to be prepared for the November election.
“We’re pretty clueless about who’s who,” said Rivera, a junior political science major.
Wick, a sophomore psychology major, chimed in: “We didn’t know any of the candidates.
The pair weren’t alone.
Almost 40 community members and students attended the event to meet the men and women who could potentially be representing them in different levels of the state and local government.
“I wanted to see what the candidates had to say for themselves,” said junior political science major Deanna Swallow. “It’s easier to make a decision that way.”
The forum – sponsored by the Colorado Association for Recycling, Colorado Environmental Coalition, Connected Organizations for a Responsible Economy and the Associated Students of CSU – focused on the economy and the environment.
“We believe that these two [issues] when working together actually enhance each other,” Executive Director for CAFR, the group who spearheaded the event, Marjie Griek said.
The event held at the Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia, featured candidates for county commissioner, the state Senate and even Congress.
The Q-and-A session consisted of audience questions scrawled on note cards.
Candidates for the House of Representatives included Sue Radford, Jodi Radke, John Kefalas, Randy Fischer, Jennifer Miller, Don Marostica, Kevin Lundberg and Bob McClusky.
Charlotte Miller, a house director for district 53, said students are often unaware of issues pertinent them.
“Tuition costs have been rising at an astronomical rate,” she said. “Usually state schools have been less impacted because of support from their state governments.”
A candidate for county commissioner, Gerry Horak, and a third-party Congressional candidate, Eric Eidsness, attended the panel.
“This is exciting,” Fischer said as he walked in. “This should be my home crowd.”
Luke Ragland, a junior political science major and director of Legislative Affairs for ASCSU, mingled with candidates and discussed issues like Referendum C and funding for schools.
“I’ve been trying to drum up support for it,” he said. “I don’t think students realize how important state legislature is.”
Kefalas, a CSU alumnus who represents the East side of Fort Collins in the 52nd district, is hopeful for student involvement in the election and thinks it’s in students’ best interest to be informed.
“I see a lot of young people who are active,” he said. “That’s encouraging.”
Candidates have been doing their part to get the word out for months, but candidate McClusky takes into account the busy schedule of a college student.
“People are so busy,” he said. “I understand that.”
Swallow, the political science junior, said students don’t communicate their concerns enough with politicians.
“It seems to be a catch 22,” she said. “Candidates don’t see college students [at events] so we don’t think they care.”
Assistant news editor Marissa Hutton-Gavel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.