Democratic rally draws students and community

Taylor Rogers

Democratic candidates need Kent students’ help to overcome the Republicans, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan said.

Ryan was one of six Democratic candidates who swarmed the Student Multicultural Center Monday as part of Gov. Ted Strickland’s bus tour.

Yvette Brown, candidate for lieutenant governor, was originally supposed to attend but was unable to make it. College Democrats hosted the event.

Chris Mallin, candidate for Portage county auditor, was the first to address an audience of roughly 40 students and community members. Mallin said college students’ biggest concern should be the Tea Party, which endorses Republican candidates and rejects the federal health care law that allows adults, ages 21 to 26, to stay on their family coverage.

“If they take away that coverage, and you have to buy your own at $500 a month for an extra five years, that’s $30,000 out of your pocket,” Mallin said.

Vicki Kline, candidate for Portage county commissioner and Kathleen Clyde, candidate for state representative, followed Mallin. Kline told the audience Portage County is in the midst of a budget crisis, and the way out lies in electing Democrats.

Clyde spoke more to the students, acknowledging their concerns with debt, unemployment and the environment.

“The Strickland administration cares a lot about these issues too, and has done a lot for our generation to keep higher education affordable and to keep our universities competitive with the best universities in the country,” Clyde said. “In these tough economic times, I especially admire their efforts.”

Clyde introduced Ryan, who encouraged the audience to take advantage of early voting, which begins Sept. 28. He also spoke about the consequences of electing Republican politicians, saying they caused many of the problems Ohio is now facing.

“We need you to get out and help us get people to the polls because we can’t afford in Ohio, especially in northeast Ohio, to allow (Republicans) to get the keys to the car back,” Ryan said. “We just can’t allow it.”

But it was his comment regarding John Kasich, Republican candidate for governor, that received the most feedback.

“I represent you guys everyday in Congress, and I will tell you life with Gov. Kasich is not a life worth living,” Ryan said. “Politically, anyway.”

Clapping and laughing ensued.

Mary Jane Trapp, candidate for Ohio Supreme Court, and Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, candidate for secretary of state, also spoke. Trapp talked about her disappointment that more voters don’t pay attention to the Ohio Supreme Court race.

“That changes with all of you…” Trapp said. “I want you to be my committee of one.“

O’Shaughnessy’s speech was also largely geared toward motivating those in attendance to vote and inspire their peers to vote.

“We’re Democrats,” O’Shaughnessy said. “We’re used to hard work, so let’s get out and do the hard work that we know we need to do.”

Although the event was meant to inspire the audience, Kristoff Cunningham, junior photo illustration major, said he was less than enthused. He came to the event to hear what the local candidates thought about the issues of this election.

“They didn’t really go in depth,” Cunningham said. “It was more of a ‘let’s tow the party line’ rally. I was hoping it would be a little more informative.”

Contact Taylor Rogers at [email protected].