The Wayne State University College Democrats held “Election Issues and Candidate Forum” to give down-ballot candidates the opportunity to campaign and relay their messages before the upcoming election on Oct. 27.
Guests included Board of Governors candidate Yvette Anderson, current Treasurer of the City of Detroit David Szymanski representing his brother, Michigan Supreme Court candidate Judge Frank Szymanski, current WSU Governor Kim Trent representing State Board of Education candidate John Austin and Diana McBroom with the Yes on Regional Transit campaign.
The forum was an open discussion directed by questions from audience members.
McBroom is a two-time graduate of WSU and said she understands the struggle of getting to morning classes on time when there is traffic. “Putting [regional transit] on the ballot has been a very, very long time coming.”
McBroom said the Regional Transit Authority’s plan for the southeast transit system will cover Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties.
“When I’m in a room of people, the first question I ask is, ‘How many here take transit?’ And no one raises their hand. That’s the problem,” McBroom said.
David Szymanski said that his brother, Frank Szymanski, is involved in multiple social programs, which focus on the development of students’ education and social behavior.
David Szymanski said these programs include “Keep Kids in School,” an initiative to reduce suspensions and to increase graduation rates, “Guitars not Guns,” a program that teaches kids to play guitar and “Kids Are Reading Every Night,” which motivates parents to read to their children every night.
“Frank is very open to liberal, social ideas,” he said.
Davd Szymanski said his brother is a man who takes his job very seriously and has denied multiple opportunities to accept other positions to stay in his current position as a juvenile court judge to serve the youth in the community.
“You want the sort of justice who understands you have a free will, protects your right to free speech and is going out and doing good stuff for the kids in our community,” he said.
Trent said Austin is an advocate for all students and a leader in efforts to make education more affordable to all students.
“He is a believer in equality and he’s been a fighter all along for our LGBT and Muslim communities to make sure that everyone in our state has access to education,” Trent said.
She also said Austin understands the importance of having broad skills, which are gained through higher education.
“Because of the way the economy is now, the likelihood that you’re going to get trained for a job at 18 and still do that job 30 years later is very unlikely, so you want to have a broad skill set,” Trent said. “Bottom line is if we care about education in our state, we would invest our money in both K-12 and higher education.”
Anderson said, “We predict the future by creating it, youth are our future.”
She said her campaign consists of ensuring affordable tuition for all students, increasing retention and graduation rates and maintaining good relationships with schools in the surrounding region.
Anderson said she is a self-proclaimed community servant.
“Service, to me, is the price we pay for the space we occupy.”
Regarding rising tuition rates, Anderson said, “Increasing the allocation that we get from the state of Michigan is the most important thing. And what does that take? A democratic majority.”
Zach Kilgore, president of WSU College Democrats, said he encourages WSU students to get involved in university politics because, “Considering how much we pay in tuition, it’s good to know where our money is going.”
Election day is on Nov. 8. To view your sample ballot or find your voting location, visit vote411.org.