Letter to the Editor:

Last week’s Simpsonian noted that Indianola’s two-term State Representative, Mark Davitt, is being opposed this year by a member of our board of trustees, Doug Shull, and that Shull is a part-time professor. However, the Simp missed the mark when it never stated that our current representative, Mark Davitt, has been just as much a part of the Simpson College community as anyone else.

A personal friend to many of our faculty, students and staff, Davitt is on campus and in Simpson’s local neighborhood throughout the year (he lives three blocks away — right next door to President John Byrd). He’s been spending afternoons on campus at Simpson as much as twice weekly while he serves as a candidate and as Indianola’s current State Representative. He consistently seeks out meetings with students right at Simpson and just recently introduced a group of students to Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Davitt’s campaign itself is even using Simpson students in the campaign’s key roles (some may see familiar student faces in campaign publications).

More than just his frequent visits, Davitt also has a personal commitment to this campus. Husband to Amy Duncan (a last name history students will immediately recognize), father and owner of a photography studio right here in town, he has as much dedication to the causes of this neighborhood as anyone.

Most important, though, is that The Simpsonian mentioned that Shull discussed some issues like education, tuition, health care coverage and job opportunities in the state. Quite simply, I’m not sure that this biographical story was the right place for a campaign advertisement, but regardless, a good response is probably best. Here it goes:

Maybe, just maybe, Davitt’s support for the Iowa House’s highest possible increase in teacher pay, his fight to increase college tuition grants for us or his fight against letting developers scoop up our farmland with eminent domain were necessary to mention. Maybe Davitt’s campaign to build up Hawk-i healthcare coverage for children, prescription drug coverage for seniors or incentives to help small businesses in Indianola possibly could have made it in. Regardless, some further issue discussion was necessary for a more accurate picture, an opportunity I appreciate being given here.

Essentially, however great The Simpsonian’s desire to inform us about real news here at Simpson (an occurrence we all know we could use a little more of), it’s simply not any publication’s place to decide which candidates we will hear and which ones we won’t.

Though we want better reporting on the politics of this country, this time students only got a free advertisement from a candidate in his run for office. The effort was well-intentioned, but next time let’s have some spirited discussion on campus not about one side or one issue but instead each candidate who’s running this year to have influence on our daily lives.


Nathan Arentsen ’08

President, Simpson College Democrats