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Chocola encourages election involvement

Beth Erickson | Monday, October 4, 2004

U.S. Representative Chris Chocola from Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, gave an informal talk to the Notre Dame College Republicans Sunday night in the Hesburgh Library Auditorium, meeting with club members to discuss the upcoming local and national elections.

“The main piece of advice I have for you is to always be involved in the political process,” Chocola said. “Too many people think their vote doesn’t matter, or the process is above them, but they couldn’t be further from truth. You’re not allowed to complain if you don’t vote.”

He urged members to register as many people as they could before today’s voter registration deadline.

“Tomorrow, go find one of your friends who’s not registered and get them signed up,” he said. “Wherever you live, you have a chance to choose who represents you.”

Stressing the importance of the young vote, the Chocola reminded students that the issues the candidates are debating would affect their generation most.

“People in your age group don’t vote,” he said. “That’s why Washington uses your money. That ought to get you and your friends out to vote, and to research the candidates.”

Chocola’s hour-long speech received a warm reception from the College Republicans.

“It was a great opportunity to hear a candidate in a pretty personal setting, and apart from the sound bites you hear in the media,” said Tom Rippinger, co-president of the College Republicans.

Rippinger approved of Chocola’s long-term strategies for cutting the deficit, which involves improved fiscal responsibility and pro-growth tax policies.

The College Republicans will be working closely with the Chocola campaign headquarters on Wednesday nights for the next few weeks to set up phone banks to speak with undecided voters. The incumbent is running against Democratic candidate and Notre Dame graduate Joseph Donnelly.

The club will also participate in a task force for the Republican Party on the days prior to the election, talking to undecided voters via phone and also at the polls.

In his speech, Chocola supported President Bush’s actions and the efforts of the troops in Iraq and spoke out against biased media coverage of the war.

“I think he’s an incredible politician who shares a lot of the same values as our club and other Notre Dame students,” co-president Ian Ronderos said. “I especially agreed with what he had to say about the Iraq war.”

When asked about the presidential election, Chocola said, “The one thing I think President Bush has going for him is that people think he will do his best to keep us safe.”

In closing, he urged students to exercise their right to vote, and to carefully research the candidates.

“Don’t take my word for this stuff, or my opponent’s word, or President Bush or John Kerry’s word,” he said. “You are all Internet savvy, the information is out there, look it up.”