Fair hosts candidates
Recently, a small group of Bowdoin students and auditors
enjoyed the rare opportunity to meet and engage in intimate political
discussion with 11 prominent Mainers who hope to become the state's next
Governor, Senator, or Congressman. The students, from Professor Chris
Potholm's Introduction to Maine Politics class, hosted their annual Candidate's
Fair last Thursday, November 8.
"It's a terrific compliment to the students that the
candidates showed up at 8:30 in the morning. Many of them even came out
of their districts," Potholm said.
The purpose of the fair was to provide an open forum for
the students to meet some of the candidates, share their own research,
and hear about the current states and future directions of the campaigns.
The event also allowed students interested in participating in a political
campaign to identify candidates for whom they would like to work.
Congressional candidate Mike Michaud emphasized the need
for politicians to listen to their constituents, especially students.
"It's very important for people to get involved at the university
level. All too often politicians get into a mode where they think they
know all the answers, but a lot of times they can learn a lot from listening
to the general public," said Michaud.
From 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Smith Auditorium buzzed with
the sound of political discussion. Groups met individually with nearly
all of the 11 candidates. The impressive list included Gubernatorial candidates
Daniel Wathen (R), Peter Cianchette (R), John Jenkins (I), and Jonathan
Carter (Green Party), Senatorial candidate Bob Dunfy (D), and 2nd Congressional
District candidates David Costello (D), Susan Longley (D), Mike Michaud
(D), Laurie Handrahan (D), Dick Campbell (R), and Tim Woodcock (R).
"This forum was somewhat indicative of two groups of
constituents that need to be heard and addressed-college students embarking
on careers and senior citizens finishing them. It exposed concerns across
generations," Jenkins said.
While each of the campaigns are currently at various states
of progression in terms of fundraising, advertising, and stances on issues,
all of the candidates expressed great commitment to the people of Maine
and the nation they hope to serve. They were also visibly impressed with
the Bowdoin students they spoke with and emphasized the importance of
the country's youth in generating effective strategies for the future.
"Fresh energy and ideas come from the students. In
recent years, there's been a lot of apathy. Now, hopefully, more students
will be motivated to get involved," Dunfey said.
In reference to the recent terrorist attacks of September
11, Costello said the following to the students: "People your age
are in a wonderful position because tremendous global opportunities have
been opened. This is the time for you to get involved."
Green Party candidate Jonathan Carter commended Professor
Potholm in bringing the students and candidates together. "Chris
Potholm did a service to our campaign and everyone else's campaign. Students
want leadership now that will lead them in the right direction in the
future," Carter said.
"The forum allowed people separated by an ideological
divide to deal with one another as people," Woodcock commented.
Following the Fair, Professor Potholm commented on the overall
success and productivity of the event.
"I thought the class did an excellent job of not only
inviting the candidates but also in interviewing them. I found the different
candidate styles intriguing-some made personal and some made ideological
pitches for support. I gather a couple of students even got paying jobs
out of it," Potholm said.