Congressional Democratic candidate Dan Maffei stopped by the Oswego State campus Nov. 2 to talk to students about the importance of voting and his campaign for the 24th Congressional district seat.
Maffei told the crowd that he does understand that people believe both Republicans and Democrats have problems, but the way to fight that is not to give up, but to be part of the political system.
“If young people give up on the system; if you decide that there is just no hope, then that might be the one thing that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Maffei said. “Criticize me, criticize Buerkle whatever you’re going to do, [but be] willing to get involved.”
Up to date polls in the election show that Maffei and Republican incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle are very close and should be in for a very exciting election night. Thomas Gillen, mayor of Oswego, also in attendance, said it was great that students could get to meet Dan Maffei and is in full support of him.
“He’s a great leader and a great man and we share the same common vision about how to develop the economy up here,” Gillen said.
Maffei spoke to his audience about student loans, spent a great deal of his time telling students how he feels it is not fair for students to have to deal with such a financial burden and that everyone should have a chance at success.
“We cannot become a society where the people who get ahead are the people whose parents got ahead,” Maffei said.
Maffei feels that student loans are making it so students after college cannot get involved in jobs that they feel are more self-satisfying in order to pay off their loans.
“Too many people poor and middle class, even upper-middle class these days, can’t afford the education or you go so much in debt that you have to take jobs you don’t necessarily want, that aren’t fulfilling in order to pay off your student loans,” Maffei said.
Being an alumnus of Ivy League schools, including Brown and Columbia, Maffei had to deal with his own student debt for years. During the night, Maffei brought up that he just recently paid off his debt and that his wife’s student debt is still being paid off.
Maffei also talked to students about the Presidential election and how he and President Barack Obama differ from their Republican candidates. Maffei said that he and Obama have more of the people’s interests in mind.
“We are trying to keep that door behind us open so that every American can have those same kinds of opportunites that we did,” Maffei said.
Rich Stein, president of the College Democrats, who hosted the event, was very happy that Maffei was able to come to campus to speak to students and local constituents. Stein feels that there is an important element that can only be found in meeting a candidate in person rather than through a television screen.
“When you see a candidate up close there’s a personal connection that you can make,” Stein said. “When you’re standing [a few] feet away, you can sense that they’re genuine, that they have a true passion for what they do.”
Stein was happy with the turn out and saidOswego State students realize what is at stake on Election Day.
“I think people realize that this election does affect them and it is going to be their duty to get out to get out and vote,” Stein said.