Congressman Tom Latham walked into the College Republicans meeting last Wednesday, shook everyone’s hand and grabbed a slice of pizza. The meeting, which also featured Sheriff Dan Charleston, was a combined effort by the College Republicans and the Students for Latham.College Republicans President, sophomore Taylor Crow, said she was pleased with the turnout of about 20 students.
“We had a pretty good turnout. Also, I think the people that were there had good questions, once they listened up a bit,” Crow said. “Which is something that the Latham campaign really wanted was to just get good interaction between the students and the congressman.”
President of Students for Latham, junior Larrissa Wurm, believes that a good interaction was achieved due to the number of students in attendance.
“It was nice for him to be able to talk about the issues and hear what students are concerned about and for them to hear what he had to say,” Wurm said. “Plus it was a smaller environment, it was a little more personal so he could really talk to everyone, shake everyone’s hand, and then, everyone had the opportunity to
ask a question.”
Senior Rachel Cutler was impressed with the questions asked by students because they showed an understanding of politics.
“It was really great to see other people who had really great questions. I could see they really are thinking about our future and they understand politics. They have a passion for it,” Cutler said. “They know what is going on and they have the passion to act for it.”
Crow hoped that the evening would help to foster this understanding of politics.
“I just hoped that (students) would get a better understanding for conservative politics and where Latham stands on certain issues. I think personally if you have a conversation with someone who knows what they are talking about you are going to benefit more than reading an article,” Crow said. “I think you might be able to understand certain issues better. With having the students ask questions I think it was overall a better learning session.”
Crow also enjoyed Latham’s responses, which ranged from the situation in Israel to the Farm Bill and even included discussion of the budget crisis.
“I liked that he fully answered the questions and made sure that they understand it in their own way. I think that is something with politics, you can get big words or things that the everyday person doesn’t understand,” Crow said. “It was nice that he was able and willing to walk through (the questions) and make it more understandable for everyone.”
The congressman’s overall demeanor was a highlight for Cutler.
“I really like when they do not try and make themselves seem like they are above us. To me that makes him that much more relatable,” Cutler said. “He does not come in a suit and tie; he is very warm and welcoming. You could see his human side, it is nice.”
Crow thinks Latham taking time out to speak to students makes a statement.
“I think that it shows that student’s votes matter. (Congressmen) are able and willing to reach out to students because they know our votes count for the election and we make up a big population,” Crow said. “For them reaching out is a nice way of saying ‘hey’ do not forget that you have this right and this privilege.”
Latham agreed with Crow, stating the message he wanted students to take away was to be involved in the political process, and particularly this election, because that is how good representatives will be elected.
“Be involved in the process and help in campaigns,” Latham said. “Basically that is the message, how critical this election is.”