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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    County Legislators Discuss Presidential Issues

    Suffolk County Legislators Vivian Fisher and Ed Romaine debated over issues like the economy, health care and the war in Iraq on Wednesday during “Does it Make a Difference?” – a program put on by different student organizations on campus.

    Fisher, a support of Sen. Barack Obama, and Romaine, a supporter of Sen. John McCain discussed how the new presidential candidate will handle the current $700 billion bailout package.

    Romaine said the answer to getting out of our current economic situation was not to create new taxes, but to do things to stimulate our economy by encouraging people to invest. “We need to encourage people to take risks and go into business,” Romaine said. “If we tax too much, we’ll hurt small businesses that run 80 percent of the jobs in the United States.”

    Fisher said that Obama, if elected, plans to jump start job creation through the development of job tax credit, helping small businesses and ultimately put Americans back to work.

    “Obama will appoint people to the Supreme Court who will support equal pay for everyone, including women,” Fisher said. “Everyone will be paid the same wage for the same job.”

    Those who were curious about McCain and Obama’s positions on education consistently raised questions about it.

    Fisher said Obama feels everyone should have the right to go to college, regardless of any circumstances they face. Obama also planned to create an American opportunity tax credit, which would give students $4,000 towards public education costs as long as they complete 100 hours of community service.

    Romaine said McCain believes schools are best served with diversity, and that each individual school should determine the diversity for their particular institution. Both candidates agreed that education should be an “open door for all.”

    Health care was another important issue raised during the debate. Romaine said McCain plans to make healthcare accessible, portable and affordable.

    “If I moved to California, they wouldn’t accept my health insurance,” Romaine said. “McCain plans to make health care portable so people don’t have to change health care providers if they relocate.”

    After hearing Obama speak at the 2004 Democratic Campaign, Fisher knew she wanted to get involved in his presidential campaign.

    “Obama spoke about hope and optimism, which was something refreshing to hear after 9/11,” Fisher said. “After 9/11, we became a nation living in fear and when you live in fear, you let your rights slip away.”

    The debate, hosted by Theta Phi Alpha, Alpha Chi Rho, Alpha Phi Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta, aimed to open students’ eyes to the candidate’s beliefs and plans.

    “I hope this debate helped the audience members begin to demand debates that are more focused on issues instead of on personal attacks,” Fisher said.

    Before the program began, audience members were able to vote for either McCain or Obama, to see if they felt differently after the program ended. They were also able to ask questions after the legislators were done debating.

    “A program like this is important because it helps people understand who they’re voting for,” said Stephanie Pierre, vice president for Delta Sigma Theta. “People can always read what a candidate says but to hear what they’re saying helps bring their words to life.”

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