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Primaries set for Tuesday

March 30, 2012

Next week’s Republican presidential primary in Wisconsin is important for young people, say several UW-River Falls students and a political science professor.

The Republican Party is holding a primary election on Tuesday, which is one of many primary elections being held across the country, to narrow down the Republican candidate that will run against Democratic candidate, President Obama.

The candidates that will be on the ballot are: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.

“Students need to pay attention to issues that matter to them,” said John Evans, political science professor at UWRF. “They need to try and look at or separate the rhetoric that the candidates say.”

All candidates have general ideas addressing the most talked about issues and what they each plan to do about it, for example, the economy, according to their official websites.

The most important issues to them, said several students, are the economy and education. Seven of 15 students responded with knowing about the issues and where the candidates stand on certain issues, including the economy and education.

On Romney’s official website, www.mittromney.com, three categories are outlined under the “issues” tab; jobs and economic growth, foreign policy and smaller, smarter, simpler government.

For the “jobs and economic growth” category, Romney wants to “rebuild the foundations of the American economy on the principles of free enterprise, hard work and innovation,” according to his website. “He is calling for a fundamental change in Washington’s view of how economic growth and prosperity are achieved, how jobs are created, and how government can support these endeavors.”

Romney wants postsecondary education to be achievable no matter what kind of college it is. “College must be available and affordable,” stated his website.

However, Romney does not outline a plan for achieving this educational goal he set up.

Gingrich’s overall idea towards jobs and the economy is about creating a “progrowth strategy,” according to his website newtgingrich360.com, “to balance the budget, pay down the debt and create jobs.”

Regarding education, Gingrich proposes that if students graduate from college early, they should get an automatic scholarship of the money that it would have cost them for the years that they skipped, according to his website.

Paul’s website, www.ronpaul2012.com, talks about how he will reduce government spending, increase the worth of the dollar, allow off shore drilling, eliminate income, capital gains and death taxes, and opposing all unfunded mandates and unnecessary regulations on small businesses and entrepreneurs.

These are just a few of the things that Paul would do in regards to the economic challenges. Paul did not mention anything on his website about education, except for the importance of homeschooling for younger children.

Lastly, Santorum does not outline any plan about higher education, according to his website www.ricksantorum.com.

However, cutting spending, a balanced budget amendment, lowered taxes for families and businesses, returning federal programs to states and promoting sustainable health care and retirement solutions for young and old, are some of the things that Santorum will be looking to achieve regarding the economy and jobs in America, according to his website.

Evans is reminding students to vote for the candidates that are paying attention to them and looking out for their interests.

“If students don’t vote, the candidates will not care about them. They will only care about those who vote,” Evans said.

Evans said that the way the Republican Primary is being dragged out is not the most ideal situation because they are beating each other up right now.

“The more this stretches out, the more they are beating each other up,” said Evans. “They need to vote on a candidate already so the Republicans and Democrats can beat up on each other.”

Of the 15 students that were interviewed, 10 knew about the presidential primary election in Wisconsin. Seven of those students knew who was running and where the candidates stood on issues that mattered to them. All 15 students plan on voting in November once the Republican candidate is voted upon.

“I am most likely going to wait to vote in November and wait to see who gets through the primaries,” said Greg Ridley, a freshman and business administration major.

The idea of waiting until the Republican candidate is decided upon was the general consensus amongst almost all the students interviewed. However, the issue the eight students had when it comes to knowing who is running was that they have no extra time to pay attention to what is going on now.

Answers such as “it’s too time consuming” and “I don’t have time to research now,” were a common response as to why.

One student, Kelsie Palm, a junior and elementary education major said that she would vote in November.

“I don’t know if I have a good knowledge of what they stand for but I know more about the negative than the positive,” said Palm.

A Minnesota resident who voted in the Minnesota Presidential Primary that was held in February, Sean Rolison, who is a junior and psychology major, stressed that being informed and involved is the only way to create change.

“If you do not involve yourself, they it will go to everyone else’s decision,” said Rolsion. “At least you have a voice when you vote, that’s how you voice who you want to lead in this government.”