Cheers to Campus Politics

College Democrats and Republicans come together to face similar objectives on campus.

More often than not, there’s friction between the Democrats and the Republicans. Yet, when the season ends, these two adversaries must make amends and bury the hatchet in order to accomplish a similar goal of maintaining political interest among UAA students.

 

Republican Representative: Jonathan Taylor
Chair of the Alaskan College Republicans, Political Science Major

TNL: Do you think UAA College Republicans is popular on campus?
Taylor: I think there was a point in time when we were, right before I joined the organization.

Are you willing to collaborate with the College Democrats?
Absolutely. I’ve spoken with several of their chairs as well as a couple of their members, and we’re very excited to work with them … to really help promote political involvement and importance of the political process.

What do you want to see happen regarding campus and national politics?
I would really like to see more involvement. … It doesn’t matter how old you are, it doesn’t matter really who you are. All that matters is what you do with that, and knowing that you can affect some change as a young person is important.

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Why do you think Alaska has been a red state in previous elections?
It’s kind of funny. Go back to statehood, and Hawaii was supposed to be the red state, while Alaska was the blue state.

But we found oil and typically when doing the balance of environmental harms versus economic benefit, Republicans tend to lean more towards those economic benefits that we get, ‘cause we think that we can develop and still protect the environment at the same time. And Democrats seem to learn more about the conservation of the environment, which we think is important as well.

What events are you hoping to bring to campus?
Hopefully, we’re trying to bring a state or national office holder to talk to students, reach out to young people. From personal experience, some people in state office or national office, they don’t know what to do with young people … or people under the age of 35. We’re sort of an enigma, but they want to know more about us.

 

Democrat Representative: Joe Samaniego
President of the Alaska Young Democrats, Member of UAA College Democrats

TNL: Do you think UAA College Democrats is popular on campus?
Samaniego: There was a pretty active group that’s been quiet lately, but this new group is looking good with about six core members. And hopefully we can ensure that UAA has a good Democratic group to compete with the College Republicans as well.

I know the College Republicans are very organized. They have a good following and that’s a lot of the hard work, they’ve done. And I definitely feel like we’ve got a good base here. The thing is we’ve got to reach out and keep motivation. Get involved, bring in speakers — that’s one of the big strengths that the Republicans have done.

Are you willing to collaborate with the College Republicans?
We’d love to have joint events, like debates, with the Political Science Association, College Republicans and the College Democrats. That way all sides are public. Even though we’re opposing parties, the two of us (College Republicans and College Democrats) being active on campus is a good thing.

What do you want to see happen regarding campus and national politics?
Campus-wide, I would definitely like to see the College Democrats have an active role and also be involved in the university community.

Nationally, I know from a lot of young people, it’s equal rights and equal marriage. One of the Alaska Young Democrats’ events was the equal rights hike. We had a great turnout, and we even won a national award from the Young Democrats of America. Alaska’s the first state that passed the constitutional amendment to make marriage between one man and one woman. And one of the things we want to do is be the first state to reverse that and allow equal marriage.

Why do you think Alaska has been a red state in previous elections?
Just about everyone here owns a gun. It’s no big secret. So nationally, when you hear Democrats talk about gun control and the NRA starts blasting them, that does have some effect.

The Democratic Party itself, I think they sort of missed the mark in some of the targeting. I know there’s union workers and blue collar workers that will vote Republican because they feel they have more in common with the Republican conservative values of small government.

What events are you hoping to bring to campus?
One of the Alaska Young Democrats’ events was the equal rights hike. We had a great turnout, and we even won a national award from the Young Democrats of America. Alaska’s the first state that passed the constitutional amendment to make marriage between one man and one woman. And one of the things we want to do is be the first state to reverse that and allow equal marriage.