On Sept. 9, candidates running for national, state and local positions in the upcoming November elections established a presence with student voters in the College Union lobby.
Republican candidate for New York State Senate Pat Gallivan and representatives for several other candidates were present to answer students' questions and distribute campaign literature.
Judith Hunter, Livingston County democratic chair and a representative for Democratic state senate hopeful Cynthia Appleton, said that SUNY's fiscal standing and the uneasiness of the job market are serious concerns for Geneseo student voters. "[Appleton] is very much in favor of trying to create jobs in the district to allow students educated here to stay here," Hunter said.
"The way SUNY has been squeezed is just unsustainable," she added. "[Appleton] understands that the diminished support for SUNY is undermining New York State's ability to compete."
Gallivan also said that supporting SUNY and creating jobs are top priorities in his campaign platform. "We need to foster an environment that invites businesses and creates opportunities for individuals and families that allow them to remain in New York," Gallivan said. "Where will the [job] opportunities for students be when they graduate? Many students will have to look outside of New York State."
Gallivan said that he is in favor of passing The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, which would offer each SUNY school the flexibility to set its own tuition rates.
Representatives from both Republican and Democratic campaigns encouraged Geneseo students to register to vote locally rather than by absentee ballot in their home district.
"I'd encourage them to register and vote locally," Hunter said. "If you want to have an impact on where you live, then this is a great way to do it."
Representatives from several campaigns also urged students to get more intimately involved in the political race and welcomed the help of student volunteers.
"I encourage students to find a candidate they believe in, or to get involved with a political party that most aligns with their views," Gallivan said. "If you're not involved in the political process, then you have no effect on the direction that your government takes and have no influence on the things that affect you as a citizen … The more people get involved, the better our system will be."
Other represented candidates included Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio, who lost his primary bid to Carl Paladino on Tuesday; Republican candidates for state assembly Sean Hanna and Dan Burling, Republican candidate for United States Senate David Malpass, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Kirsten Gillibrand, Democratic candidate for state senate Mary Wilmot, Democratic candidate for state comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Democratic candidate for attorney general Eric Dinallo.
Voter registration forms can be picked up from College Union Room 353 and in the Student Association Office, College Union Room 316.