Kucinich urges students to vote

Kari Petrie

College students who vote in the upcoming presidential election can change the world, said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said yesterday.

Kucinich spoke to a group of approximately 440 students at Macalester College in St. Paul. He ran for president during the Democratic Party primaries last spring.

It has never mattered more to show up and vote, he said. If young people vote, Kucinich said, he knows Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry will win in Minnesota.

Tony Richter, vice chairman of the University’s College Republicans, did not attend the event but said he does not agree with Kucinich’s thinking.

“I have a hard time believing that,” he said.

Students are looking for change and looking for new ideas, something the Democratic Party cannot offer, Richter said.

When an audience member asked Kucinich how he would peacefully fight terrorism, Kucinich said he would open up dialogue in the international community about how to keep people safe.

Richter, who said he agreed with the sentiment, also said President George W. Bush initially opened that type of communication with the United Nations, but he went to war when the dialogue failed.

Several students attending the event said they did not think political candidates pay attention to young voters.

“They pay more attention to older voters,” Macalester College senior and event attendee Emily Davidson said.

Kucinich said it’s time for students to make the first step to make politicians care about them.

“Young people need to care about young people,” he said.

It will be the young people who will deal with the consequences of Bush’s choices, Kucinich said.

“Who pays the price of war?” he said. “Young people.”

Kucinich also said it’s important for voters to get behind Kerry and his campaign.

“It’s not enough to be anti-Bush,” he said.

Instead, Americans should focus on making a better country, he said.

Amy Fisher, also a Macalester College sophomore who attended the event, said she thinks people need to be more supportive of Kerry.

“I’m really not a fan of this ‘Anybody but Bush’ thing,” she said.

Fisher also said it bothered her that Bush was using the events of Sept. 11, 2001, to help his re-election campaign.

Kucinich said the Bush administration must stop using terrorism as a political tool.

“You have the right to be free of fear,” he said.

Kucinich also said he knows young people are ready to take control of the election and tip the state to Kerry.

“(Students) are the ones who can make a difference,” he said. “We’re counting on you to save this nation and world.”