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Students react: state senate debate

An Oct. 15 debate between Kent Eken and Phil Hansen for State Senate has students planning to vote next week buzzing about a race other than the presidential one.

Moorhead is located in district four for Minnesota’s senate districts and two candidates are currently running for the senate spot. Eken is the Democratic Farmer-Labor representative for this race and Hansen is his Republican opponent.

At the debate, subjects such as education, voter identification and the marriage amendment were covered.

Some key statements Eken made in the debate were about raising revenue by raising taxes and therefore having more money to put towards education.

“It’s to the best interest of our state that every child gets the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential,” Eken said.

Senior Hope Brown, a supporter of Eken, found it comforting that he has served as a representative before.

“[He] supports Minnesotans finding employment, something that matters to me because I am almost a college graduate,” Brown said.

When the subject of amendments to the Minnesota constitution was brought up, Eken took a stance that opposed both.

When it came to the voter ID amendment, he explained, “It’s a non-existing problem.”

As for the marriage amendment he said it is a distraction created by political groups.

“It’s being done to divert people’s attention from other issues such as elderly care and education,” he said.

One place both candidates were able to agree on was education.

Hansen stated in the debate: “We need to make sure that you guys have the skills the employers need.”

Junior Will Merickel appreciates this message and is happy to see that Hansen is endorsed by many small businesses.

“He’s trying to get the message out on pro-growth of helping small businesses with tax cuts,” Merickel said.

Hansen thinks tax cuts will be the best way to see a more profitable state and commented on the current situation in government.

“Our state government has a problem with over-promising and under-delivering,” he said.

On the voter ID bill, Hansen says he doesn’t want illegal voters cancelling out legitimate votes.

“All this is about is voter integrity,” he said.

When it comes to the marriage amendment, Hansen wanted students to know that he believes in the power of the voters to decide, but he said, “I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Either way, “we will all vote, and decide this issue, and move on either way,” Hanson said.

Both candidates commented on the need for people to go vote, and students felt passionately about this issue, as well.

Hope Brown encouraged every student to vote. “If you don’t vote, you are effectively giving up your right to the freedom we are blessed with in the US,” she said. “We have the ability to choose our leaders and I would hope everyone would want to weigh in on something as important as who runs our country.”

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