SDSU College Democrats to co-host congressional town hall

by Jocelyn Moran, Staff Writer

A Democratic congressional town hall will be hosted by San Diego State College Democrats along with the Veterans Democratic Club of San Diego and San Diego County Young Democrats on May 6 in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union theater to discuss veterans and collegiate issues.

Representatives Scott Peters and Juan Vargas, and congressional candidates Douglas Applegate and Patrick Malloy will be at the event. It is also sponsored by Students Supporting Israel.

“I love this opportunity to be able to make new friends, and I think our club thrives the most when we reach out and have other people helping to make our events even better in order to reach to more students and more people to spread our values,” senior Zach Bunshaft, president of SDSU College Democrats, said.

Bunshaft said they had been planning the event throughout the year and had originally planned to do a joint event with SDSU College Republicans, but “they had a few clashes and that fell through.”

“We decided to regroup, come together and just make it a Democratic event,” he said.

Matthew Rice, president of Veterans Democratic Club of San Diego, said he contacted Bunshaft and San Diego County Young Democrats to reach out to the younger community.

“I wanted to infuse their influence and their reach to build relations and have a larger way to push out our message,” Rice said.

Some of the Veterans Democratic Club of San Diego’s efforts include giving veterans elected office, having a campaign to end homelessness and spreading the message that U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not represent all veterans.

“Veterans should be a bipartisan issue all the way,” Rice said. “Everybody should support it.”

In addition to those matters, Rice said other veteran topics will be stressed at the town hall including the reintegration under civilian workforce, the VA health care system, for-profit colleges for active duty military and veterans, and “ending the myth that because you’re a veteran, you should be voting Republican.”

“There’s a lot of myth around it, and that needs to stop,” he said.

According to their website, San Diego County Young Democrats’ mission statement is “to promote the growth and development of the Democratic Party among those under 36.”

Bunshaft said student issues that will be discussed include climate change, campaign finance, women’s rights, and LGBT rights.

“Our topics are intertwined as in they affect students, they affect veterans, they affect everybody,” Rice said. “All are intertwined messages that with two voices are always stronger than one.”

They will also touch on the Boycott, Divest, Sanction(BDS) movement and where to draw the line on freedom of speech.

“We want all students to express their opinions, but when certain students feel targeted, or unsafe in the community, they’re not really able to access that freedom of speech,” Bunshaft said.

The event is from 4-6 p.m. From 4-4:30, students can talk and engage with the congressmen and candidates.

“This is (students’) chance to be involved in the political system. You want your congressmen to reflect your ideals? You need to talk to them, reach out to them, show them your perspective and hear about their issues,” Bunshaft said.

The rest of the night will be a discussion revolving around questions students have submitted.

“I hope they get the motivation and determination to go and register to vote before May 23rd, so they can vote June 7 in the presidential primary here in San Diego,” Rice said. “One vote really does matter, and hopefully, they can gain something from the Democratic side and look for opportunities from the Republican side to also voice their concerns on campus.”