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One hardcore Republican is jumping the aisle

by Laura Wiersema, News Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Almost anyone who knows Nick Laning, a political science and international relations major, knows he’s about as Republican as a person can get, which is why it’s so unusual that he has decided to work on a Democratic campaign this upcoming election.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, Laning interned in the Iowa House of Representatives, working with both Republicans and Democrats, such as Scott Ourth, D-Ackworth, who is running for re-election in District 26.

Laning’s goal is to help make sure Ourth wins.

“I decided to work on outreach for Scott Ourth’s campaign because he is a fiscally conservative Democrat, a dying breed, and he is a genuine politician and man,” Laning said.

According to his campaign website, Ourth wants to “get back to basics: good jobs, great schools, a sound economy.”

“Scott fights for Iowans, not just Democrats,” Laning said. “He fights for the Iowa Tuition Grant, which a lot of Simpson Students utilize, and he fights for farmers like no other. He has the NRA, Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa Corn Growers endorsements, which usually go to Republicans.”

Part of Laning’s motivation to work for Ourth, however, has nothing to do with Ourth. Like a lot of voters during this presidential election, Laning also has strong negative feelings about Ourth’s opponent, Rebel Snodgrass.

“Rebel Snodgrass, does not portray what I believe to be Republican ideals. He seems close-minded, a little too Trump-esque for this conservative,” he said.

Laning would usually describe himself as a mainstream conservative Republican, aligning with figures like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. But to Laning, that’s not what politics are about.

Politics, instead, are about relationships.

“Politics is supposed to be all about working together to better society, and I believe sustaining good relationships with all people no matter their political stance is important,” Laning said.

Since coming to Simpson, Laning has had plenty of firsthand experience with this idea.

When applying for housing before his freshman year, he let Residence Life pick a roommate for him. Little did he know his roommate would be Tristan Carman, a self-proclaimed liberal Democrat.

As one could imagine, they didn’t start out as best friends, but the same can’t be said anymore.

Laning and Carman both joined Kappa Theta Psi and have been roommates since day one.

This example from Laning’s life serves as a testament to his belief that party affiliation really doesn’t matter, despite what many people think. Politicians, he said, should all share a common goal: to improve the county, state or country they live in.

“I believe that if we all cared more about the quality of people we sent to Des Moines or Washington rather than just the letter next to their name, we would have a better state and country to live in,” Laning said.

Laning created a Facebook page, Simpson Students for Representative Ourth, and encourages students to engage in local politics as well as national politics this election cycle.

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