College Democrats reflect on Obama’s State of the Union plans

Matt Poe

As President Barack Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address Tuesday night in Washington D.C., more than 300 miles away, the Kent State College Democrats watched the president intently.

Members of the student-run organization, which serves as an outlet for young Democrats to discuss issues, gathered in The Nest on the second floor of the Student Center to view the hour-long address, Obama’s sixth as president.

In a speech that touched on foreign and domestic issues, Obama addressed the conflicts with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the restoration of the middle class and the tensions of bipartisan congestion between parties. He also described 2014 as a “breakthrough year” for the nation, one that saw the best economic year during his tenure.

Several of Obama’s key points focused on topics including college education and student loans. He talked about his new plan for two years of free community college to anyone who works hard for it.

Brandon Stephens, president of College Democrats, said he believes that plan is a step in the right direction.

“I think we just need to be investing more in our colleges, more in young people,” said Stephens, a senior criminology and justice studies major. “I think it’s important to remember we are living in an economy where it’s almost guaranteed you need a college degree to get a good-paying job.”

With this being Obama’s final term, the president also talked about his desire to get issues solved rather than focus on a political agenda, which College Democrats vice president Ryan McCarthy said caught his attention.

“He showed that he is going to be an active president in his final two years,” said McCarthy, a sophomore political science major. “I really think he’s in it for what he believes and to promote more progressive values.”

Freshman public relations major Hana Barkowitz recently joined the College Democrats and said she felt strongly about the president’s remarks on bipartisan gridlock.

“It’s important that the government focuses on unifying the Democrats and Republicans,” Barkowitz said. “People don’t really focus on the issues anymore; they focus on the aspects of the parties, which they shouldn’t.”

The College Democrats, which meets Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. in the Student Center, will focus on varying issues this semester including ISIS, women’s rights and the war on drugs.

Contact Matt Poe at [email protected].