Johnson visits campus

by Kate Paulman

Paul Johnson, an independent Democrat running for Iowa’s 4thDistrict seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, stressed theimportance of young voters in a recent campus visit.

“I think students have a real opportunity [in this election] tosay ‘I want my country’ and not let it go to waste,” Johnson said.”If all students vote for a change, that’d be one-fifth of all thevotes I need to win. It’s really powerful; it really is.”

Johnson visited the Simpson campus Monday, Aug. 30. Johnson,whose booth sandwiched comfortably between the College Democratsand the New Voters Project, spent most of his time at the Fun FAIRtalking with students.

“Every student here votes- or should,” Johnson said.”Traditionally, we complain that young people don’t vote, but Ithink that [in] this election people are paying an awful lot moreattention to it because of the war, but also because of issues suchas global climate change or the need for getting on with renewableenergy.”

Johnson emphasized issues, he says, are important to collegestudents: health care and environmental issues.

“It used to be that you only talked about [health care] withseniors, but today even young people can’t get health insurance,”Johnson said.

As for environmental issues, Johnson said college studentsshould be concerned because “it’s your future, not mine…it’s yourearth, your environment, your parks and your forests. You need tothink in those terms and you need to say, ‘I want my country back.’I think students just really ought to raise hell [when it comes toenvironmental issues].

Focusing on issues college students are concerned should becrucial to both Johnson and the incumbent Republican Tom Latham-the 4th District is home to more than a dozen colleges anduniversities, including Simpson, Iowa State University and LutherCollege.

Johnson said it is important for college students- especially inIowa- to vote, regardless of their political party preference.

“[Students] take statistics and they know numbers, and they knowthat one vote doesn’t count so [they think] ‘Why should I worry?'”Johnson said. “Well, just look at what the Supreme Court did andwhat only five hundred votes did four years ago. I don’t think weshould again say ‘My vote doesn’t count.’ In fact, from all we cantell, Iowa can be the deciding factor [in this year’s presidentialelection].”