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Governors encourage student involvement

By Hayley Burgess
Staff Writer

Photo by Hannah Simpson
From left to right (R)Robert Orr, (L)Michael Munger, NC State student Patrick Lawson representing (R)Bill Graham and (D) Dennis Neilson debate issues on their platforms in the UC Annex on April 1.

North Carolina Governor candidates addressed voting concerns at the Governor’s Debate held on April 1 in the University Center Annex.

The debate entitled “A Political Night Out,” was sponsored by the Student Government Association. It was hosted by SGA president Barry Burch Jr. and Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Kevin Freeman.

Approximately 66 people attended the event that began at 7 p.m. The major emphasis of the night was change and how students voting in the election could make North Carolina great.

The candidates in attendance were Republican Robert Orr, Libertarian Michael Munger, Democrat Dennis Nielson and Patrick Lawson, a representative for Republican Candidate Bill Graham.

Each candidate was given 10 minutes to state their platform and give a message to the students, followed by two questions that were prepared by the hosts. About 30 to 45 minutes were allotted to audience questions and a five-minute closing statement.

The candidates each emphasized students getting involved in the election. They also said that the decisions that are made today for the leadership of North Carolina will not only impact the next four years, but the next 20 to 25.

Orr, a former judge, gave his background and what he hoped to accomplish if elected governor. He stressed that he cares for rural North Carolina, not just the wealthy areas.

Patrick Lawson, a North Carolina State University student representing Bill Graham, gave Graham’s policies and also shared how he became involved in Graham’s campaign. Lawson stressed how Graham wants to be an accessible governor, saying that anyone could call or email him and he would respond.

Munger said thatpoliticians are negatively stereotyped. He said that he will be a good governor because he has a lot of administrative experience.

“I want working for the government to actually mean something,” Munger said.

Last to present his platform was Dennis Nielson who said that he was not here to represent the Democratic Party, but to represent himself. Nielson, the only conservative Democrat running, said that he wants to set the state up for the next eight years and stressed how important leadership was.

The candidates then answered two questions prepared by the students about the economy in southeast North Carolina. Each candidate gave steps they would take and systems they would set up.

The last part of the debate was for audience questions. Some of the issues addressed were immigration, financial aid, gun laws, gas taxes, victimless crimes, lowering the drinking age and the recognition of the Lumbee Tribe.

The debate ended with closing arguments when the candidates invited everyone to come talk one-on-one and urged all to get involved.

“Whoever wins this election affects you more than the presidential election, because we will do things for you,” Nielson said.



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Updated: Saturday, April 12, 2008
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