What students care about this primary election year

Mark Meadows

Education and economics are the top challenges for Heath Shuler’s successor. North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District is guaranteed a new congressman to take office now that the incumbent Heath Shuler will not be in the running in the 2012 election.

In February, there was a debate held on the campus of Western Carolina University in effort to improve voter education and participation in this year’s election. Cecil Bothwell and Tom Hill, are two out of the three Democratic candidates running this year that participated in the informal discussion. They were outnumbered with a panel filled by the other four Republicans vying for the congressional seat: Spence Campbell, Mark Meadows, Vance Patterson,  and Chris Petrella.

Cecil Bothwell

Topics such as oil drilling, immigration policies, job creation, and voter registration were disputed with varying answers, yet voter’s opinions resounds with an echo of “education and economics” being the most important issues for NC.

“Education is important to me because our tuition is going up, and I still have 6 more years of school,” said Colton Overcash, a sophomore at WCU.

Catherine Stiers and Heather Britt, 20-year-old, WCU students said major problems include availability of job and economic issues.

“There needs to be a restructure in the tax code, and overall there needs to to be restructure in healthcare system,” said Stiers. “Really in the end, we’re afraid we’re not going to have jobs when we graduate,” said Britt.

Vance Patterson

Stabilizing the economy, bringing economic growth and maintaining high-quality education seem to be the focus for citizens in Western NC.

The final question from the audience was: ‘Where do you stand on Amendment One?’ Supporters of Amendment One believe “marriage between one man and one woman is the only legal domestic union”.  While supports of gay rights argue that  the subject “rights of minority” should not be up for vote.

Watch video below to see where the congressional candidates stand on Amendment One: