Senator Debbie Stabenow made a campaign stop on campus, hosted by the College Democrats in the Alumni Lounge on Thursday, Oct. 25.
Stabenow arrived just after 4 p.m. and spoke for about half an hour after mingling with the assembled students and community members.
Her talk began with a heavy emphasis on supporting Democrats in state and local races. She also expressed strong support for State Proposal 2, which would establish a citizen redistricting commission, and State Proposal 3, which would institute automatic voter registration.
“To make sure redistricting is actually fair for the next 10 years, Proposal 2 is critical, and Proposal 3 is critical as well,” Stabenow said.
Stabenow is defending her Senate seat from Republican challenger John James in the November midterm elections, and much of her speech focused on what she sees as the stark differences between themselves and their parties.
“With healthcare, as well as protecting the environment and education, there are big differences right now between the Republicans and the Democrats,” Stabenow said.
Stabenow also talked about the importance of bipartisanship and civility in politics. With much of SVSU’s student body eligible to vote for the first time on Nov. 6, Stabenow spoke to the importance of young people voting.
“When you think about the future of our country, the students on campus are going to be impacted by everything that’s happening both now and in the future,” Stabenow said. “… If we’re going to bring down the cost of college and make sure students can walk out of college debt-free, which I think is absolutely critical, we have to have people in Washington and Lansing who support that.”
John Kaczynski, SVSU’s director of Government Affairs, talked about the importance of young people being civically engaged.
“It’s extremely important for any college student to understand civics, to understand the value of engagement, and that translates to multiple things outside of politics and elections,” Kaczynski said.
Stabenow was introduced by political science junior Erik Byron of the College Democrats. Byron noted several Democratic local officials and down-ballot candidates were also present to talk to constituents before welcoming Stabenow to the stage.
Byron was pleased with the event and said he still felt the excitement of participating once it was over.
“I thought the event was excellent,” Byron said. “It went really well, more than my wildest dreams.” Other students were pleasantly surprised by the high-profile visit.
“This is probably the biggest event that College Democrats have had since I’ve been here,” said Hunter Koch, a public administration graduate student. “I know there were multiple people in the room who are moderates who might not be as politically involved as some of us are, and they all came out and showed just as much enthusiasm.”
Afterwards, Stabenow attended the Great Lakes Bay Manufacturers Association annual meeting in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms.