Visiting Iowa on politicans’ agendas

by Becka Neary

Iowa, worth seven votes at the electoral college, is recognizedas one of the 16 key states in this election.

Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic Sen. JohnKerry alone have made over a dozen visits to the state, althoughfew of those have been to colleges or universities.

“Rallies get people energized, excited and mobilized, remindingpeople that Iowa counts,” Professor of Political Science JohnEpperson said.

The cities presidential candidates visited Iowa included CedarRapids, Davenport, Des Moines, and Sioux City.

“I went to hear Dick Cheney in Sioux City when I worked for theRepublican Party of Iowa this summer,” sophomore Megan Warner said.”The best thing about it is that you get to hear the agendas andsee that they care about you as an individual and that they aredoing this for a purpose.”

In many cities, Bush was only a few blocks away from Democraticchallenger Kerry.

“I think it is a big deal when such a prestigious person comesto a small town, and in certain circumstances it influences thepublic to vote,” senior Kyle Hanson said.

Although Iowa is on the list of hot spots for this presidentialrace, colleges and universities are not the top venue.

“People 18-24 are not known for voting, so [presidentialcandidates] don’t have interest in making an effort,” Hanson said.”It is not the most effective way to use their time.”

In spite of that, Chris Heinz, Kerry’s stepson, visited IowaState University speaking about funding for higher education.

“At Simpson we benefit because we are 12 miles from theairport,” Epperson said.

Some people believe that more interest should be placed oncolleges and universities.

“We are the voice of the future, we need a chance to beaddressed,” junior Beth Daily said.

Studies show that college demographics are not a primary focusin presidential elections.

“I think that visits to college campuses should be emphasizedsince our age group is not really a voting age group,” Warner said.”If they touch upon us, they may be able to spark moreinterest.”

According to the Des Moines Register, more than 2 million Iowanshave registered to vote.

“I would think we are going to see these candidates a couplemore times,” Epperson said.