Penny campaigns in Willey Hall

Libby George

Surrounded by students and a throng of orange-clad supporters, Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tim Penny and running mate Martha Robertson campaigned in Willey Hall on Wednesday.

“We’re just grabbing hands of students as they pass between classes,” Penny said.

Students were also able to ask Penny questions on his plans for the state. They asked questions on issues such as abortion and the economy, but Penny said most questions focused on education.

“The (University) knows that at the time, being the state budget is tight Ö if we can’t fund their request, these are realities we’ll have to deal with,” Penny said.

He added that his plans for combating rising tuition focused on financial aid.

“I don’t think we’ve allowed financial aid to keep pace with the tuition,” Penny said. “I want to make sure financial aid programs are adequate to meet the need. No matter what the tuition is, you’re always going to need (financial aid).”

Penny also spoke to many students about his plans for environmental policy, specifically expanding light rail and improving the bus system.

“Piece by piece, we need to get a decent system together,” Penny said.

Students attending the event had varied political views but generally just wanted to ask questions about the issues confronting them, such as the lack of affordable housing around campus.

Boris Smelov, a full-time postsecondary education student, reacted positively to the event after grilling Penny on the environment, the economy and education.

“I usually vote democrat, but (Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roger Moe) just doesn’t seem interesting to me, and after (Gov. Jesse Ventura) you just can’t switch to a bland politician,” Smelov said.