Students debate national issues

By Thomas Garcia, PNT Staff Writer

More than 70 Eastern New Mexico University students attended a political debate that covered key issues facing the nation’s future.

The debate was organized by the Student Association for Voter Empowerment organization.

“I am really pleased with the turnout tonight,” said Jamie Grady, SAVE president, after the debate. “The students made the effort to come out on a Thursday night and be politically active.”

The purpose of this debate was to inform voters about the important issues and where their candidate stands on those issues, Grady said.

“While there was no actual winner of the debate, it was very successful,” Grady said.

Representing the two political parties were ENMU seniors Soojee Clauss (Democrat) and Matthew Velasquez (Republican).

Clauss and Velasquez each suggested two of the four topics debated Thursday night in the Ballroom of the Campus Union Building.

Clauss said that she chose healthcare and education as two of the most important issues for people to consider when they vote.

“Education is so important to our generation,” Clauss said. “If children and college students cannot receive a quality education, then our entire country will be affected. They and we are the leaders of tomorrow.”

Velasquez chose security and energy as the two topics important to the American voters.

The information about the current state of our nation’s energy resources is very crucial, Velasquez said.

Dependency on foreign oil, high gas prices are things Americans are dealing with now, Velasquez said.

Global warming and climate change are future issues that Americans will have to face.

“Voters need to know where their candidates stand on these issues,” Velasquez said.

While there were strong divergences of opinion during the debate, the one thing that the candidates were united about was the purpose of the debate.

“My hope for this debate is the people take away as much information about these crucial topics as possible,” Clauss said.

“I want people to be better informed about the issues that will affect them,” Velasquez said.