Political science fair encourages students to vote, hosts debate

Christina Suttles

A political science fair hosted by various student organizations Friday aimed to stress the importance of voting to Kent State University students and members of the community.

The fair, hosted by the KSU Political Science Club, the Kent State Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha Honorary, the KSU Department of Political Science and sponsored by the Undergraduate Student Government, featured a series of tables representing student organizations such as the KSU College Democrats and College Republicans, Unicef and Amnesty International.

The fair’s purpose was to allow new students to introduce themselves to their peers, faculty and staff from the Department of Political Science, as well as political candidates from Portage County and surrounding areas, according to Christopher Clevenger, president of the Political Science Club.

“The purpose of the fair is to break down some of the barriers between student organizations on campus,” Clevenger said. “And to show students the importance of registering to vote and showing students that politics can have a non-partisan approach so that everyone can join.”

The fair also offered an hour-long debate between Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D) and Nick Skeriotis (R), current candidates for the 75th Ohio House District.

The debate kicked off with a discussion about the depleting median household wages in Ohio and why students should stay in the state after graduating.

Skeriotis said graduates should stay in Ohio because the economy is getting better with Gov. Kasich.

“We have the next two years where it can get better,” he said. “Once Mr. Obama is defeated and Mr. Romney is elected and pushes federal regulations back and fixes the tax code to make it more business friendly… jobs will be created here and college kids will actually have a job when they graduate. ”

Clyde said she hopes that Ohio’s college graduates will choose to stay here and be “lifelong Buckeyes.” She said that Ohio has many job prospects to offer college graduates, such as medical practice, biotechnology and green technology.

“Our economy is turning around and there really is a lot to offer here in Ohio, Clyde said. “We’re a leader in a lot of emerging areas that need your college degrees.”

The debate then focused on recent cuts to Ohio’s public schools and universities.

Clyde said that public universities have seen a 14-percent cut in the most recent state budget and that it is a “serious problem” and needs to be reversed.

“To put us on the road to recovery… we need to make sure we’re setting you up and giving you the best education that we can,” she said.

Skeriotis said that in order to balance any budget, cuts have to be made, but his economic plan would no longer require education to be cut.

“I’m a free-enterprise guy,” he said. “I believe in private ownership of an economy, and that private ownership of the economy will create more jobs which will create more tax dollars which will fund schools.”

The last hot-button issue of the evening was health care, or more specifically President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Clyde said she firmly believes that the Affordable Care Act is necessary to give every citizen access to the medical care that they require.

Skeriotis said that he does not support the Affordable Care Act and that students’ should be self-sufficient by age 26, rather than relying on their parents’ for health insurance.

He also said he believes Medicaid and Medicare should be block granted to individual states.

“Each state should be able to provide their own method of supplying healthcare,” he said.

Clevenger said he hopes students will take away a working knowledge of political science after watching the debate and will utilize the resources that Kent State has to offer its students, as well as encouraging students to vote.

“I hope they realize it is important to vote, Clevenger said. “Almost every table here has voter registration forms, and we’re really trying as hard we can to get people to register.”

Contact Christina Suttles at [email protected].