By Hannah Forbush, Staff Writer
Not long ago, elections came to a close in Maine with the Republican Party sweeping the polls. Here at the University of Maine at Farmington the College Democrats and the College Republicans are discussing both losses and victories after having done their best to keep fellow students informed about the candidates and ballot questions.
The Republicans and Democrats on campus worked hard this fall in an effort to raise awareness about the election. The College Republicans invited Andy Buckland, who was elected into the Farmington Board of Selectmen, to a debate on campus to publicize his campaign. Shenna Bellows and Ed David also visited UMF’s College Democrats to educate students about their campaign. “Students were interested to see candidates like Sheena Bellows here,” said College Democrat President Shane Cushing. “I think students are generally receptive to political clubs, especially since we have a more liberal campus.”
The College Republicans took a firm stance on question one, which asked whether or not bear baiting and trapping should be made illegal. The club was opposed to making changes to the current bear hunting practices in the state due to the economic and social implications of eliminating bear baiting in the state. Club members pointed out that many Maine resident’s livelihoods depend on the resources found in our forests. The Maine State Warden’s service and state biologists also opposed making baiting illegal, pointing out that eliminating current practices would be eliminating the most effective means we have to control the state’s bear population. The Democrats took a less solid stance on the issue. Many of them saw merit in the proposed bill but did not believe that the bill had been thought through and developed enough to justify making changes to the current law. Others also saw the negative implications of making bear baiting illegal in Maine.
Both the College Democrats and Republicans are always looking for new members. “I encourage people with different views to come to our meetings and talk about them to help foster a healthy political environment on campus,” said College Republicans President Jamie Austin. The two clubs try raise political awareness on campus by hosting political debates and planning other politically oriented events. In the spring semester, Austin hopes the Republicans can host a concert for Andy Buckland’s band, The Foothills Jazz Quartet, along with swing dance lessons for any UMF student who is interested in attending.
As with any election, this year’s results brought victory to some and losses to others. The College Democrats and College Republicans are satisfied with having done their part for students at UMF. “While I’m disappointed with how the elections turned out,” said Cushing, “I am still happy to be a supporter of the political process.” Club members were pleased with the level of student involvement in this election, and look forward to the coming term.