Ohio College Dems converge on Kent campus


Obama for America representative Greg Schultz speaks to students about this year’s presidential election at the Ohio College Democrats Winter Conference on Saturday, Jan. 28, in the KIVA. Schultz is the Ohio state director for the Obama for America campaign. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Sade Hale

A small group of College Democrats from all over Ohio met Saturday to hear numerous speakers discuss the importance of student political involvement. The 2012 Ohio College Democrats Winter Conference was hosted in the Kiva.

Several universities were represented at the conference including Kent State, Ohio University, The Ohio State University, University of Toledo, University of Dayton and Oberlin College.

The all-day event featured guest speakers including Jim Mueller, current State Senate candidate, Kathleen Clyde, member of the Ohio House of Representatives and former Congressman Zack Space. Each speaker addressed a different aspect of the importance of student involvement in politics and how politics affect all students.

The conference, however, was not just about students listening to what the speakers had to say. The speakers wanted to hear from students and were happy to answer any questions.

Mueller spoke on the importance of building a better job market in Ohio and addressed student ideas for job creation.

“We’ve got to create jobs in this state,” Mueller said.

Mueller, former Geauga County Commissioner and former state representative, said the best way to help the Ohio job market is to target small business.

Mueller also talked about the importance of creating jobs in Ohio for college students.

“We don’t want people like you leaving our community: don’t leave,” Mueller said.

While the audience had little to offer when asked for suggestions, Mueller said students can call and give him ideas.

“Wealthy people create jobs? Bull. Not true,” Mueller said. “Ideas create jobs.”

Kathleen Clyde, Ohio’s 68th district state representative, also attended the conference. Clyde, a native of Garrettsville, did not give a formal speech but had an open discussion with students about their voice in politics and what students consider to be important.

Clyde will be up for re-election this year and said she is interested in the student vote. She talked about the importance of Kent State Democrats because Portage County is a swing county.

“If you get some of these swing counties going blue, that’s what turns Ohio blue,” Clyde said.

Ohio University student Marika Bresler thought the open discussion was beneficial.

“I enjoyed hearing from other students. It’s really important to talk to each other,” Bresler said.

The last speaker of the day was Zack Space, former Ohio 18th district congressman. Space talked about college students’ obligation to being active in politics. He also spoke about his time in Congress and commended students for participating.

“Historically, when society needed change, it emanated from the youth, from college campuses,” Space said.

Kent State will also host a similar conference for College Republicans in April.

Contact Sade Hale at [email protected].