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ISSUE 118 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/12/2004

Groups evaluate post-election goals

By Emelie Heltsley
News Editor

Friday, November 12, 2004

The end of the election does not signify the end of political life at St. Olaf, but gives time for political groups to relax, regroup and redefine their goals for the rest of the year.

College Republicans were thrilled that President Bush would stay in office for a second term. "We're still smiling," College Republicans Vice-Chair Katie Rusch '05 said.

Members of College Republicans were not surprised with the results of the election and mentioned that there is political life apart from that on the St. Olaf campus.

"Our opinions here do not necessarily coincide with the rest of the country," Rusch said.

College Democrats were unhappy with the national election results, but "happy with the campus results," College Democrats Co-Chair Ross Latchaw '07 said, mentioning how 71 percent of the student body voted for Kerry in the election. "Even though Teresa Daly and David Bly didn't win, Kerry took Minnesota."

Even though Bush received a minority of the on-campus vote, his 27 percent shows improvement from previous years.

"I was happy," College Republicans Chair Megan Blair '05 said. "Our efforts on campus show an improvement."

Both the College Democrats and Republicans mentioned the huge voting turnout from St. Olaf students. Latchaw mentioned a rough estimate of 1,100 on-campus voters, not counting those students who chose to vote absentee or at their homes.

Now that the election is over, on-campus political groups will redefine their goals for the year, prepare others to lead during the next election, and continue planning events for the student body.

College Republicans see Bush's second term as a great opportunity for student involvement.

"We're looking to the future and what needs to be done," Blair said.

Rusch mentioned letter writing as one way for students to make a difference.

"Just because the election is over doesn't mean the government is done," she said.

College Democrats hope to create a framework for future on-campus election work to make things easier and more efficient for future leaders.

"We want to make something for others when we leave," Latchaw said, citing the need for an organized guide to plan election-based campus events.

Educating students on local, state and national issues will remain a goal for all campus groups.

Rusch believes that an unbiased point of view is of utmost importance. "We need to show people what is really going on," she said.

Brandon Crase, coordinator of the Political Awareness Committee (PAC), thought the election brought important issues to the forefront of peoples minds. He hopes that students will "keep following up on issues."

While Crase admits nothing can match the pre-election October excitement, he hopes that, with the help of PAC, students will "develop a lifestyle of political awareness."

Although the political atmosphere may seem slower after Nov. 2, students need not worry.

"No huge campus events does not mean political awareness stops," Crase said.

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