College DFL elects board

Ada Simanduyeva

Financial aid, Social Security and health care were discussed this weekend at the College Democrats of Minnesota’s annual convention.
About 50 students gathered Saturday to discuss these issues and to elect the student-run association’s executive board in a year that will prepare students for the 2000 elections.
Senatorial candidates challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Rod Grams set the tone for the convention, addressing the importance of student participation and outlining their stands on the issues.
“The DFL is the party that will support the issues that students want,” said Amber Wobschall, chairwoman of the College Democrats of Minnesota. “They support funding for higher education, for insurance coverage, for a lot of the things that we talked about here today at the convention, and I think all of those issues, which are a wide variety for students, really fall in DFL line.”
Brian Sherling, chairman of Hamline Law Democrats, attended the convention to hear the senatorial candidates for himself.
“I wanted to work on one of their campaigns, and I still haven’t decided,” he said.
University senior Jon Bjorum was re-elected as secretary of the student-run political association. He said he plans to expand the organization’s statewide reach by establishing more chapters and establishing a statewide e-mail system.
Mike Redlinger, a Moorhead State University student, was elected chairman amid some delegates’ concerns that his bid was unethical.
Kevin Nicholson — a University junior in political science who is taking the semester off school to run the College Democrats of America from Washington, D.C. — had unofficially endorsed Redlinger. Some student delegates said he threw his influence around to prevent other candidates from running.
But one last-minute opponent challenged Redlinger. He garnered several votes, but not enough to beat Redlinger.
“I initially set out for the chair position after thinking a lot about where the organization is at right now and trying to evaluate our goals and our priorities,” Redlinger said after being elected.
He said he hopes to increase communication between the member colleges, move elections from fall to spring and discuss where the College Democrats should go next.
Becky Boland, Winona State University sophomore, was elected as vice chairwoman and Joe Carlile, a Gustavus Adolphus College student, was elected as treasurer.
College Democrats members think that student involvement will help strengthen the DFL.
“It’s a party where young people are really involved, and they actually look at young people’s issues,” said Brianna Halverson, chair of the University’s College Democrats.
Student issues
Moorhead State University student Aaron Wittnebel, a College Democrats member, said his main educational concerns are financial aid and student vouchers.
Students qualifying for substantial federal aid can be disqualified from receiving state aid. As a result, these students are often left without enough money to cover tuition, Wittnebel said.
Student vouchers pit private schools against public schools in a funding competition, Wittnebel said. He said he does not support vouchers because they might induce public-school supporters to withhold their taxes; they would not want to inadvertently fund private schools, Wittnebel said.
Another top issue among students is social security. Many students don’t want to pay to the system that is not going to be there in the future, Nicholson said.
“There has been a lot of talk lately about whether or not social security is going to be capable of making a long haul and that has people, young people worried,” Nicholson said.
Student delegates were concerned with health care and several other issues because they were more impacted than adults, Wobschall said.
“People don’t realize that they can get involved at a local level, and they will have an effect on state and national issues as well,” said Jamie Kalsnes, a College Democrats member from Moorhead State University.