By Peyton Hilbert, Elsie McElroy, & Bailey Kestell
Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich came to speak to UW-Green Bay students in Mary Ann Cofrin Hall on March 28 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The College Dems, a UWGB student-run organization, hosted a question-and-answer event that brought Genrich to UW-Green Bay mere weeks before today, April 4th’s local election.
During the event, Mayor Genrich answered questions posed by students and civilians about his plans as well as his campaign. To a small crowd that grew as the meeting went on, Genrich spoke on several topics, ranging from his dedication to diversity, increasing housing and development, and his plans for the future. “We have increased things like public safety and infrastructure development. We have an equal rights commission for the first time in the city’s history.” Genrich said. At the end of the meeting, Mayor Genrich allotted time for students to speak with him, ask questions one on one, as well as take some pictures with him.
The College Dems took the chance to reach out to a local politician and brought him to the campus. Carlyn Lowe, one of the co-chairs of the College Democrats, stated, “I think [the meeting] is a great way for college students to ask questions about the topics that they care about.” Several students brought up various concerns, ranging from the environment to the potential development of a health department. Certain topics, such as the health department, were county or state-level material, but he still gave an answer to the best of his abilities.
One student, who requested to remain anonymous, stated, “I think it’s really neat that Mayor Genrich came to campus to allow us to ask him questions. There are a lot of people out there that don’t care about younger people’s political views; Mayor Genrich coming to campus shows that he cares about our political views.”
Politics is always a riveting and highly interactive subject with participation from both voters and politicians. Local and state election days, while not nearly as popularized as the presidential elections, it is vital and has an impact on daily life. Lowe said, “When you are voting local, you are essentially voting for your community and the welfare of the community. Everything that is at a local election will eventually come back to the community.”
These types of on-campus political events also foster a supportive environment for college students as well as community members to learn about candidates and become more versed in politics. It is important for voters to be informed about candidates’ goals so that when voting day comes, voters can select their correct candidate. Lowe stated, “Another tip is doing research on the candidates, and the site can tell you who is on your ballot. Voting when you don’t know your candidates is not voting at all.” Public events that encourage and promote question-and-answer sessions allow voters to gain a better understanding of the candidates. Even further, on-campus voting booths and mail-in ballots allow all students to vote conveniently, and they allow everyone the opportunity without restraints, such as not being able to commute to voting locations.
For more information about today’s election, one can go to myvote.wi.gov or go to your local polling place to register.