Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2), in partnership with the University of Connecticut College Democrats, came to speak with UConn students about the upcoming election Monday night in the Student Union.
“Congressman Courtney actually contacted us to have a meeting with students about the upcoming elections,” UConn College Democrats president Megan Handau said. “Our organization is working really hard to register voters, raise political awareness and promote Democratic candidates, so actually getting to speak with our representatives is always a welcome and great opportunity.”
Courtney discussed a wide range of issues from the economy, to gun control to higher education reforms for students. He first stressed the importance of every student voting in November.
“I really am the poster child for this,” Courtney said. “I won by 83 votes in 2006, every vote does really count in an election.”
Courtney spent a lot of the conversation answering questions students had about the presidential race.
“It is sort of understandable why students may be turned off from voting,” Courtney said. “It hurts your ears to listen to a Trump speech these days, but not voting is the worst way to respond to that.”
Courtney also discussed the need to continue working in the stalemate Congress faces today, citing bipartisan triumphs with Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-3) on a bill that would allow for the IRS to share location information of children who have been abducted and are reported as dependents on tax records.
“We were able to get the two sides to come together and agree on this bill [Recovering Missing Children Act], which was signed into law by President Obama in June of this year,” Courtney said. “It’s not going to change the whole world but you can always look for opportunities on some bills to go through [Congress].”
Students in attendance expressed interest in the partisan divide currently facing the American political system.
“I am very interested in this election, since the party polarization is so high,” fifth-semester Economics major Christine Savino said. “I come tonight to support our state reps. I would like to also see students get more involved in the political process, so it was nice to see other students here as well.”
Brendan Dunn, a fifth-semester Political Science major and events coordinator for UConn College Democrats, also expressed that he was interested in the connection of Rep. Courtney to the student body.
“Down the ballot candidates are important, if not more important than Presidential in this election,” Dunn said. “They are the ones who will be affecting decisions made around UConn. I definitely want to hear what they all want to say, especially when it concerns the UConn population.”
Courtney cited UConn students as the reason for him holding elected office.
“This campus sent me to Congress in 2006, no question about it,” Courtney said. “There are only 21 days left before Election Day, which is an eternity. I think the Democrats are going to win, but our biggest enemy is always turnout.”
Elizabeth Charash is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.