Reform party works to motivate students

by Heather Fors

Although she’s worked for more than a year to make the College Reform Party a political force on campus, Lori Marker said she still lacks one key factor: widespread student support.
Despite various efforts to attract students to the party — she gave away free food by the river and got political figures such as Barbara Carlson and Jesse Ventura to make appearances on campus — most students simply are not responding.
“Students don’t want to get involved in politics,” said Marker, president of the College Reform Party. “It directly doesn’t affect them.”
But issues like Social Security will eventually have an effect on students, and Marker, a University extension student, said low response in these topics shows many students don’t know the issues.
The College Reform Party’s objectives are to provide students an avenue for political participation, to educate them on political issues and to motivate and increase student voter registration.
The party piqued the interest of organizational communications senior Eric Hanson, who is running against Rep. Phyllis Kahn in district 59B of the state Legislature, which encompasses part of the University.
The party is meant as an alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties, which attracted Hanson, because he said too much faith is put into just the party names.
Although he and his campaign manager, Aaron Kohlhoff, are on the roll call for the college party membership list, their campaign isn’t endorsed by the Reform Party. Their main goal is to get people to vote, even if not for the reform party, said Kohlhoff, a recent University political science grad.
Hanson said he isn’t going to push his agenda or his politics on people who don’t want him to.
“I think people don’t care about politics because of something they’ve experienced,” he said.
And while some people are ready to get involved in politics, others aren’t ready to get involved in anything, Hanson said, and that’s a decision for the individual. People that get involved in politics generally don’t have to concentrate solely on survival.
“I think there’s a lot of things people need to feel good about before they get involved,” Hanson said. “I think the most important thing is smiling.”