The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

College Republicans and Democrats voice opinions on issues

Students gathered to hear the EIU College Republicans and Democrats voice their party’s viewpoints Thursday.

Nick Tieman, a freshman management major, Don Stone, a senior pre-law history major, and Bobbie Mitchell, a senior communication studies major, represented the Republican viewpoint.

Ryan Plunkett, a sophomore political science major, Joel Grissom, a junior history major, and Zack Plunkett, a senior political science major, represented the Democratic viewpoint.

Moderator Terry Barnhart, a history professor, presented each side with an issue.

A designated speaker was given two minutes to state their viewpoint. The opposing party gave a two-minute response. The original speaker would then give a one-minute rebuttal.

The first topic brought forth was each party’s plan to fix the country’s current budget and deficit.

Stone said the government should not increase taxes but find other sources of revenue.

“We need to cut the unnecessary fat, not education, out of the budget,” Stone said.

He said the Republicans also believe the government should stop creating more programs.

“We need to stop digging a hole we can’t climb out of,” he said. “We shouldn’t make any new programs until we pay our bills.”

Zack Plunkett said the Democrats suggest a progressive tax opposed to the current flat tax.

“(The flat tax) isn’t enough,” he said. “The Democrats propose a progressive tax, where the wealthy are taxed more and will ease the middle class.”

Some issues were more heated than others. The topic of illegal immigration from Mexico got both sides fired up.

Grissom said Democrats believe America should help illegal immigrants.

“Illegal immigrants are being demonized by the right wing,” he said. “(The illegal immigrants) just want to support their families.”

Tieman said the Republicans feel differently. He said the use of border patrol is helpful.

“The fence does help,” he said.

One issue both sides strongly agreed upon was getting people to vote. The parties agreed the public should not be apathetic and should exercise their right to vote on leaders and issues important to them.

Ryan Plunkett said college students should especially be involved in the voting process.

“Students are often the most affected,” he said. “They need to get out and be involved.”

After the moderated section of the debate was complete, students in the audience were free to ask questions. Students asked questions about each party’s stance on issues such as renewable energy, green cards and the legalization of marijuana.

Overall, students had a positive response to the debate.

Fiona Finnigan, a freshman art major, was impressed.

“I thought it was pretty good,” she said. “I was very pleased with the lack of wishy-washy answers on both sides.”

John Grubisich, a junior history major, agreed and thought that debates such as this one were important.

“Students get to shake out apathy and get to know the issues.”

Both party representatives were also pleased with the outcome of the debate. Ryan Plunkett said although each party had different views on some topics, they met on common ground when it came to encouraging students to vote.

“The (best moments) were when both sides agreed and were conciliatory,” he said.

Plunkett said he has been in past debates that were more intense.

“It could have been much worse,” he said.

Stone said he thought the debate’s intensity was a good aspect.

“It showed (each party’s) passion,” he said. “(Although) it got heated, it showed we’re not apathetic.”

Stone says the parties are not so different.

“We just have different ideas on how to fix issues,” Stone said.

Sara Hall can be reached at 581-7942 or [email protected]

College Republicans and Democrats voice opinions on issues

College Republicans and Democrats voice opinions on issues

Don Stone the President of the EIU College Republicans endorses Bill Brady as the Repulican candidate for Illinois governor during a debate between EIU College Democrats and EIU College Republicans Thursday night in the Physical Science Building. (Audrey


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