UTSA students and six political candidates participated in a political rally Oct. 4 at Rowdy clubhouse in Phase 2 of the University Oaks.
Sponsored by the Roadrunner Republicans Committee, College Democrats and Housing Residents Life, the rally allowed students to meet some of the candidates running in November and to encourage UTSA students’ voter registration.
”We wanted to show that politics is something that is not scary,” Andres Bocanegra, an Oaks resident assistant (RA) who helped plan the event said.
Candidates participating in the rally were incumbent Judge Rene Diaz of the 224th District Court; Jo Ann Ponce Gonzalez, candidate for Bexar County District Clerk; Diane Rivera, candidate for 45th District Court; Ciro Rodriguez, candidate for Congress; Gloria Saldana, candidate for the 224th District Court; and Genie Wright, candidate for Bexar County Court at law.
Each candidate gave a brief speech after introducing himself/herself to the students on what he/she hopes to achieve if elected. Although the candidates’ political views differed, they all stressed the importance of college students becoming politically active and voting.
”It is such an important thing when you turn 18 and you have that right,” Rivera said. “I remember being 18 and my dad taking me to the polls and thinking, ‘Wow, I am going to make a difference.'”
Several of the candidates also emphasized the importance of encouraging students to take a more active and serious role in politics.
”I feel as good stewards and good shepherds it’s our obligation to encourage college students to become involved,” Wright said. “So that when it is their turn to be in charge, they know what they are doing.”
All of the candidates reminded the students that they have a voice and their vote does and will make a difference.
”Voting is important.” Rodriguez said. “Because you have certain rights right now, don’t assume that those rights are going to be there tomorrow. You have to continuously fight for those. People have fought for the right to vote, and so we encourage you to take this seriously because those rights can easily be taken away from you.”
One UTSA student emphasized the power of student votes.
”I think that most people don’t expect college students to vote,” said Alda Morales, College Democrats president. “So I think we should surprise them and vote and make a difference.”
Registered voters can participate in early voting Oct. 23 €” Nov. 3 or vote on Election Day, Tuesday Nov. 7.