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Campaign issues will affect students

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The Nov. 6 election is coming up fast, and soon enough, it will be time to check the boxes on the ballot, and then we will know if Barack Obama will be the U.S. president for four more years or if Mitt Romney will take the office.

But one thing is for sure: whoever wins will have an effect on students at Grand Rapids Community College and across the nation.

Keith St. Clair, a GRCC professor of political science, says there are many issues students should be paying attention to. “I would think economic concerns would be a priority for them (students) and who they thought could best handle and lead the economic recovery,” St. Clair said. “They’re going to be working in this economy in the near future.”

Besides economic issues, St. Clair named specifics about several issues students should be aware of, including healthcare.

“I can certainly remember before ‘Obamacare’ passed into law, students who would tell me, even if they were failing the class, that they could not withdraw from the class because if they did, they would drop below full time and thereby lose their parents’ health insurance,” he said.

Looking at the bigger picture, he says the election is on a whole different playing field than four years ago. “(Obama) was campaigning on hope and change,” St. Clair said. “He’s trying to convince people that we don’t need a change at the top, but we kind of need to stay the course.”

James Rinck, chairman of the Kent County Democratic Party, is optimistic about the president’s situation. “Obama was presented with a hideous situation when he got into office,” Rinck said. “Things are starting to turn out. I think if Obama was reelected, there might more willingness on the Republican side to work with him.”

The Kent County Republican Party did not return multiple calls and emails, but Matt Grendewey, Communications Director for the Michigan Republican Party, spoke on the Republican Party’s behalf. He said Romney will be the best candidate because he believes he can boost the economy.

“When they cast a vote for Gov. Romney, they’re casting a vote for someone who knows about creating jobs, someone who worked in the private sector, and someone who’s made payroll,” Grendewey said.