Students passionate about interests, underwhelmed by candidates

Students talked with the Daily about issues that are inspiring them to cast a ballot.

Sophomore Same Ahmed poses for a portrait on Sunday, Oct. 11 in front of Northrop Auditorium.

Jasmine Snow and Lydia Morrell

University of Minnesota voters are passionate about the issues — but underwhelmed by the candidates.

While Sen. Bernie Sanders swept the University-area precincts during the primary former Vice President Joe Biden won the state. Since then, student groups have mobilized voters to increase turnout at the polls and flip suburban seats in favor of the DFL.

Many University students said they are most concerned about issues related to the environment, social justice, COVID-19 recovery, healthcare and womens’ reproductive rights.

The Minnesota Daily talked to students on campus about the issues they are passionate about this election, what races they are following, how they are voting and what they hope to see from elected candidates.

Name, year, major: Diya Kalra, first-year, psychology
Elections and candidates: Biden
Issues: Environment, abortion rights

“I agree with more socialist policies and I would love it if those things were possible. But I think right now, it’s just about repairing the damage from Trump’s presidency.”

Name, year, major: Kayla Greifenkamp, second-year, speech-language-hearing science
Elections and candidates: Biden
Issues: Green energy, social justice, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+

“I really hope to see more of an emphasis on green energy and moving away from fossil fuels and stuff like that. More of an emphasis on listening to people more, listening to constituents, and trying to connect with them more than just acting.”

Name, year, major: Cole Meeden, third-year, biology
Elections and candidates: “My man Joe Biden with the cool shades.”
Issues: Net neutrality, environment, equality, taxation

“I’m interested in bringing back net neutrality, the environment and working more for equality of underrepresented groups. And then I would think about taxation of wealthier people. I think that’s a big issue.”

Name, year, major: Axel Torbenson, second-year, economics
Elections and candidates: Third-party candidate
Issues: Economy, taxation, antitrust laws

“I’m actually thinking of voting third party. I’m not super into either of the main parties. The Libertarian candidate [Jo Jorgenson] is kind of interesting, but she doesn’t quite, like, fit what I’m thinking so it’s kind of in between her and the Green Party.”

Name, year, major: Kyle Wong, third-year, plants microbial biology and ecology, evolution and behavior
Elections and candidates: Biden, Tina Smith for U.S. Senate
Issues: Climate change, voting rights, trust in candidates

“I would like to see Biden be more clear on what his specific plans are for addressing issues like racism, and how we’re going to rebuild the economy after this pandemic. I guess from Trump … I would like to see for him to own up to his mistakes and discuss how he can be more open about his past records — regain some of that trust in the American people.”

Name, year, major: Same Ahmed, second-year, neuroscience
Elections and candidates: Biden
Issues: “Minority” issues

“I’m passionate about just being able to have someone I feel like would represent my population, especially being a minority in Minneapolis. We know the events that have just kind of occurred and I want someone who’s able to take action and is willing to actually do things about issues that we have.”

Name, year, major: Alexis Lipstein, second-year, biosystems and bioproducts engineering
Elections and candidates: Biden, Tina Smith for U.S. Senate, Betty McCollum for U.S. House of Representatives, James Farnsworth for St. Paul School Board
Issues: Climate change plan, civil rights

“I know that Biden has a climate change plan, so I really want to see some of those policies be put in place and be followed by states. And I would also really like to see reform in the justice system.”

Name, year, major: Katelyn Ambaruch, first-year, marketing
Elections and candidates: Biden
Issues: Environment, reproductive rights

“I’d say the environment is up there for me, the pandemic and reproductive rights as well. … I’m voting for Biden because I feel like he’s the best option right now. I would have loved to see a more progressive candidate nominated, but I feel like at this point right now I’ll just be settling for Biden.”

Name, year, major: Jenna Quinn, first-year, speech-language-hearing science
Elections and candidates: Biden
Issues: Environment, social justice, women’s health

“Preserving women’s health and pro-choice 100% … With [Ruth Bader Ginsburg] gone, we need to preserve those choices, because heaven forbid they go away.”

Name, year, major: Abby Medberry, second-year, management information systems, supply chain operations management, and Chinese
Elections and candidates: “DFL up and down the ballot.”
Issues: Climate change, Supreme Court justice, women’s health

“Ultimately where I feel that I can express my more progressive values is in a primary and not like in the general election, but I’m still definitely voting.”