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Student Leaders at George Mason Disagree About Election

By Bridget Wagner, UPI

The newly elected members of George Mason University’s executive branch both agree that change is needed in the White House, but they disagree on what changes.

Student Body President Zack Golden of Virginia Beach, Va., and Vice President Claire Forman of Bowling Green, Ky., were elected in the spring of 2008 on the same ticket, yet they have very different opinions about the election. Both have made their decisions on who to vote for.

Golden will vote for Barack Obama because he is ready for change and he likes what the U.S. senator has to offer.

Forman is disappointed with the choices that were presented on both sides. She has decided to vote for Bob Barr, who is the Libertarian Party candidate.

Golden and Forman are among young voters who may have a large impact on the election. According to CNN exit polls, the number of voters ages 18 to 29 who voted in the 2008 presidential primaries and caucuses increased in every state. Altogether, turnout increased 109 percent compared with previous elections.

Golden, a senior at George Mason, is majoring in government and international affairs. “We will see more people our age voting,” he said. “It has been a while since we have seen two candidates in their 40s. We can relate to them better.”

Forman, also a senior who is majoring in global affairs and Latin studies, believes that the presidential nominees are lacking. “Individuals have come out of the woodwork to give better options. It is not enough to change the course the country is on. (It is) closer, but not quite there.”

Although Forman is unhappy with the candidates, Golden has an idea of what an ideal president should be. “Candidates have to be intellectual and have courage to ask questions (and) to challenge assumptions. They need to be able rely on their staff to have critical thinking abilities to make informed decisions,” he said.

The most critical issue of the upcoming election for Forman is American foreign policy. “The candidates consider foreign policy to be the situation in Iraq and nothing more,” Forman said. “Global opinion has been damaged in the last eight years. The next four years should be about damage control,” stated Forman. “The candidates are making considerable effort, but it is not enough.”

The most important issue for Golden is education. He says college should be more affordable, the loan process should be simplified, and more subsidized loans should be added. But these issues are not high on the priority list for candidates.

“The candidates do not discuss higher education, they discuss the bread-and-butter topics such as the war and gas prices,” Golden said.

With six weeks left until the election, there is sure to be more disagreement by the candidates as they try to gain control of the White House.

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