Kahn must fight for students

After defeating Griffin, Kahn must take up issues students are concerned with.

Last weekend, Minnesota House Representative Phyllis Kahn secured the Democratic-Farmer-Labor endorsement for the 2012 election in a closely contested race, overcoming the challenge of recent University of Minnesota graduate Mike Griffin. With an unprecedented outpouring of student support, Griffin shed light on the fact that within Kahn’s district, which encompasses one of the largest educational institutions in the U.S., the student voice does not seem to be represented adequately.

Kahn is unarguably a champion of the “little guy” and targets important issues. But she represents nearly tens of thousands of students from the University alone, meaning if Kahn wins reelection, she needs to be on the Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee in the House and put more pressure on the Legislature for our concerns at the state level.

The tuition drum has been beaten to death but not by Kahn and not within the legislative chambers. The support of Mike Griffin was never meant to show that students do not support Kahn but rather that as students we prefer that she have different legislative priorities. Kahn must actively work to stop the decline of our state’s support of higher education. Participating on the committees that deal directly with higher education is certainly the first step to achieve that.

The students of the University of Minnesota cannot expect the representatives from outstate cities like Luverne, Minn.,  to understand and fight for us at the Capitol. However, we do expect that since we are a substantial block of her constituents, with a substantial impact on Minnesota’s future, our representative devotes a substantial amount of her time engaging the Legislature with our particular problems.