The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Party chair rallies Democrats on campus

Nicole Robinson

Health care. Affordable education. Civil rights. The environment. Voter Registration. These are just a few of the issues Joe Wineke, chair of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin, said define Democrats.

“I’m sick and tired of being told what I am as a Democrat,” he said.

Wineke spoke at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Schofield Auditorium as the keynote speaker at a Democratic rally that featured several Democratic candidates and speakers.

Speaking with pride of his political affiliation, Wineke said he sees potential for a Democratic resurgence in the northwest portion of the state, referring to past successes.

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“I’m proud to say I’m a Democrat . and this might shock some people, I’m a liberal,” he said. “We can take this area back for the state of Wisconsin.”

Potential for strengthening the Democratic Party, he said, lies in young people deciding to take initiative and vote.

“I get sick of political people saying young people are the future,” he said after his speech. “Young people are today.”

Sophomore Chris Nielson thought Wineke effectively conveyed Democratic values, though as a devout Christian, he disagreed with some of his points on abortion and gay marriage.

“I thought he did a good job of laying out the values of the Democratic Party,” he said. “He made me think and that’s the best thing he could do.”

Being pro-life and against gay marriage but in favor of “social justice,” affordable education and health care, he said, often leaves him conflicted in the bi-partisan struggle.

“Stuff like that resonates with me as a Christian,” he said.

Sophomore Tom Burton, vice-chair of the College Republicans, said while many Democratic ideas sound favorable, bringing those ideas to fruition requires funding.

“All I’ve heard is health care and education,” he said. “How are (Democrats) going to pay for all this?”

Much of the burden, he said, would have to come by increasing property taxes, which he said would drive people and businesses out of the state.

Republican politics, Wineke said, have left Americans with a “misguided war,” deficit spending, education that is tough to pay for and other hardships.

An increase in the younger vote, he said, could bolster the chances of victories in 2006 and 2008 elections.

“Students probably carried Wisconsin for (2004 Democratic candidate for president John Kerry),” he said after his speech. “We gotta have young people understand that voting is relevant to their lives.”

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