College Republicans remain

Stacy Jo

Despite Norm Coleman’s former affiliation with the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, University College Republicans are banking on his party loyalties in their support of the now-Republican mayor of St. Paul in his run for governor.
“Coleman — considering he was a Democrat just a few years ago — is really paying his dues to be a loyal Republican,” said Orlando Ochoada, a University College senior and College Republican.
Coleman governed conservatively even as a Democratic mayor, Ochoada said. Coleman’s Republican endorsement, along with his support of the Republican platform — which the College Republicans helped form — guaranteed him support from the student group, Ochoada said.
Both Ochoada and College Republicans Chairman Julien Kubesh cited Coleman’s “revitalization” of St. Paul as evidence of Coleman’s ability to make concrete political changes.
“(St. Paul) is completely rejuvenated and I believe (Coleman) can do the same thing for the state of Minnesota,” Kubesh said.
His efforts in improving the economy, bringing more jobs back to the downtown area and increasing the size of the police force produced tangible effects, said Bill Gilles, College Republicans member.
“He brought the city out of its slumber,” said Gilles, a Carlson School of Management senior.
Coleman’s desire to downsize government and give political power back to the people appeal to the interests of both Kubesh and Ochoada.
“Government should get out of people’s lives, and that what Coleman’s all about,” Kubesh said.
Tax reform also tops the two students’ lists of priorities. Ochoada pointed out that students must remember that they are tax-paying citizens of Minnesota, above and beyond their status as students.
Coleman will employ the Republican philosophy of lowering taxes, which promotes productivity and encourages people to work harder and earn more money, Ochoada said.
In unabashed support of the candidate, he added that in a state known for its notoriously high tax rate, “a vote for Norm Coleman means lower taxes.”
Several other issues that Coleman advocates and the College Republicans support include the creation of uniform statewide standards for gun control and providing educational tax credits for students in grades K-12.
With his solid Republican stance, the St. Paul mayor’s opponents do not measure up to Coleman, Ochoada said.
He conceded that Reform party candidate Jesse Ventura talks a good game and has a strong libertarian philosophy, but sorely lacks in his understanding of primary issues.
“He’s an opposing character,” Ochoada said.
He chastised Democratic candidate Hubert H. “Skip” Humphrey III for supporting a large number of special interest groups and then withdrawing that support once he obtained their political backing.
Further, Humphrey follows the typical Democratic solution of taxing and spending, Ochoada said.
“Throwing money at a problem is not the same as solving it,” Ochoada said.
Ochoada credits Coleman with bringing together Republican donors and activists. Frequently these two factions remain separate, Ochoada said, but Coleman’s zeal has unified the entire party.
“It speaks well of the party and of the candidate that everybody’s gelling the way they are,” Ochoada said.