Forum brings candidates to UTSA campus

Over a dozen Democratic candidates gathered in the Denman room at UTSA on Thursday, Oct. 18 to speak to the students about the upcoming election on Nov. 6.

The UTSA Young Democrats hosted an on-campus event in order to educate young voters about their possible choices on the ballot next month. The event hosted Democratic candidates who are running for positions ranging from judge to congressman. Among the more notable guests in attendance were prospective Congressmen Joaquin Castro and Pete Gallego.

“The most challenging part [of organizing the event] was definitely trying to figure out the best format to engage students,” said Hannah Beck, president of the UTSA Young Democrats.

Other student organizations such as GLBTQ and the College Republicans offered an array of diverse viewpoints by tabling at the event.

The Young Democrats encouraged the audience to ask the candidates questions following their speeches and many students actively participated,  addressing their concerns on issues such as education reform and crime rates.

A representative from the College Republicans asked Castro, “Are y’all really better off than you were four years ago?” in reference to the effect of the Obama administration. “We absolutely are better off than we were four years ago,” Castro replied, prompting a sudden burst of applause. The representative of the College Republicans offered no response.

In the end, Beck believed the hard work of the Young Democrats paid off.

“I do think the event was a success. Students appeared interested in hearing candidates speak, asked thoughtful questions and many stayed afterwards to take pictures with elected officials,” Beck said.

“We want young people to be engaged and to be participating in our democracy,” Castro stated, “but it’s even more critical for the young generation.”

“The decisions that are being made now-you’re gonna have to live with for decades and decades, so if there’s any generation that should be tuned in, it’s the younger generation,” he added.

The Young Democrats of UTSA will also host many other on-campus events this semester such as an early-voting campaign, phone banks to support Obama and tabling for Pete Gallego and the Pre-K 4 SA initiative.