Senators speak to SDSU students

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Senator Tim Johnson spoke Wednesday to a crowd that packed Volstorff Ballroom beyond expectations.

During her opening comments, President Peggy Miller remarked on the turnout of over 500 students when the predicted turnout was 100 to 150 students.

Miller then introduced Johnson as a “friend” and Daschle as “one of your own” and let the senators do the talking.

Daschle, one of the most prominent SDSU alumni, spoke with fondness and pride of SDSU. “I could not have had a better education than the one I got here on the campus of SDSU,” he said. “The quality of education that we have here is comparable to one you’ll find in any part of the world.”

The Majority Leader has not tried to wipe SDSU from his history. “I hope no one will ever accuse me of forgetting where I came from,” he said.

He went on to commend students for furthering their education.

“Education is the basis upon which we build this democracy,” he said, adding that educated people are easy to govern.

Then Johnson took the floor, speaking of the relationship and partnership he and Daschle have, which can get things done for South Dakota.

He also spoke of the relationship of SDSU to South Dakota. “When SDSU prospers, when it grows, when it excels, it is good for every South Dakotan. I think the future is bright for South Dakota, and the future is bright for SDSU,” Johnson said.

This relationship must be cultivated, he said. “We need to find ways to partner with SDSU and find ways to help it really take off. We want to continue to go forward in a way that the resources will allow it to really blossom,” he said.

Johnson sees the importance of education. He asked, “What are our priorities? Do we put our dollars where our mouth is when it comes to education…?”

One of his goals is to reduce the cost of undergraduate and graduate level education.

Another concern Johnson addressed was voter participation, noting that college-age citizens are least likely to vote. “We’ve got too many young people who’ve grown cynical, saying, ‘So what? How does that affect my life?'”

He hopes that students and young people will realize the effect that government has on their lives and step forward to accept the responsibility in the upcoming election.

“I’m hoping we will see a kind of turnout, a kind of participation, that we have never seen before,” Johnson said.

Freshman Lea Paulson was pleased to see her senators showing interest in SDSU. “I think their support is very important,” she said. “It shows that they do care, that it’s not just all talk.”

Sophomore J.V. Kelley was less than thrilled with the presentation. “I think in general it lacked content,” he said. However, “I was impressed with the turnout.”

#1.888257:3551867762.jpg:daschule.jpg:Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Senator Tim Johnson drew 500 students to the Volstorff Ballroom last Wednesday.:Sue A. Pulse