Politicos drum up support at homecoming parade

by Cati Vanden Breul

Cheerleaders and band members were not the only ones marching in the rain Saturday during the homecoming parade.

Some politicians, along with their friends, family members and supporters, walked in the parade to shake hands with onlookers and hand out campaign literature.

John Bessler, who helped stump for Amy Klobuchar – a U.S. Senate candidate – said he thinks it’s important for politicians to show a presence on campus, especially with the recent tuition increases.

“College tuition is going up so much. When I went to school it was actually affordable, now it’s getting to be really difficult,” said Bessler, a former graduate student at the University and Klobuchar’s husband.

Bessler and Klobuchar’s dad marched in the parade and handed out stickers.

Alex Valen, a political science senior and secretary of the College Democrats of Minnesota, marched in support of Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

“I came here to represent my organization,” he said, and noted he supported Rybak, who will be up for re-election in November.

The group invited Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Rybak’s opponent, to march in the parade, but he didn’t go, Valen said.

Minneapolis City Council Ward 2 candidate Cara J. Letofsky said she didn’t attend the parade because a number of her supporters from University fraternities told her students would be paying more attention to the upcoming football game than politicians handing out pamphlets.

Letofsky said she will start knocking on doors in residence halls this week.

“I wanted to catch students at a time when we could really have a conversation,” she said.

She’s already started knocking on doors in the Southeast Como neighborhood, and is finding students have a lot to talk about, especially regarding housing issues, she said.