U.S. Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y. of the 26th district, came to speak with students on Sunday Sept. 16 asking for support in her upcoming November congressional election.
According to The Hill, a newspaper based out of Washington, D.C., the 26th district is one of the more conservative districts in New York state. Geneseo College Democrats hosted Hochul’s visit in the College Union Fireside Lounge, where students posed questions and allowed Hochul to express her views in order to gain support for the upcoming November re-election bid.
During her talk, Hochul said that, though she considers herself to be fiscally conservative, she “doesn’t play party politics” because she believes both parties can be right and wrong.
“The question I always ask is, ‘Is it good for my district?’” Hochul said. “If it’s not, then my answer is no.” Hochul also stressed the importance of voting, saying that students “have to care about who [their] leaders are.”
“You owe it to your country [to vote],” she said. “Why would you want to give [that right] to anyone else?”
Hochul also focused the discussion on the economy, including the job market and education. According to Hochul, the American dream is only attainable if there are jobs available and if students have access to a great education. “I’m here as a fellow citizen to tell you that you have a shot at the American dream,” she said.
Hochul continued to show her support for education, saying that she backed the decision to lower student interest rates.
In order for students to pay off their loans, she said there must be an available job market. She also said that vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s platform to cut Pell Grants hinders the job market because “new jobs come from research.”
Addressing the topic of being a woman in politics, Hochul said it can be difficult, considering 17 percent within Congress is female, but that she can handle it. She also expressed that she saw a need for more female voices in government, citing the debates over Planned Parenthood and women’s health issues. She said that being a woman in politics is “tough … but it’s so important to make a difference.”
Hochul also discussed the nature of money in politics, saying that “politics can get very nasty,” because wealth is what helps people get ahead.
In addition, she commented on the petition on defense spending that she received from Peace Action Geneseo, saying that though she is against automatic defense cuts, she believes outdated military programs should go.
“[Hochul] is a good public speaker and is a lot better at having her ideas conveyed [than other candidates],” said junior Isaac Baskin, president of the Geneseo College Republicans. “However, you can’t be a fiscal conservative and support bills and run on issues where your stance disregards debt.”
“I think it was a good turnout,” said senior Jared Meagher, president of the College Democrats. “The people who showed up are invested in seeing who their representative [could be].”
Congressional elections will take place on Nov. 6, 2012.