Referred Law 16, the job market, American involvement in Libya and energy independence were the main topics of the Political Science League’s debate Oct. 24.
The debate opened with senior Teresa Johnson, acting as mediator, explaining the rules of the game. The College Democrats, College Republicans and College Libertarians were each represented by three speakers who took turns answering questions prepared by PSL as well as questions from the audience following the debate.
Beginning with a three minute opening statement, the College Libertarians stated their party’s general belief in individual rights and exercising liberty of speech as well as the right to one’s own property. This debate marked the first time any Libertarian organization has been present in a debate since 2009.
Following the College Libertarians, the College Republicans made a reference to the presidential election of 1980 between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, stating that this year’s debates between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney have been very similar to that election.
The College Democrats stressed the importance of students voting in the presidential election, stating that democracy is not possible without voters.
Leading the debate’s first question concerning South Dakota’s education system and teachers, the College Democrats said their party views Referred Law 16 as a bad plan that prevents students from getting a quality education. They said incentive pay should not be exclusive to math and science teachers alone, but also to other departments such as English and art.
“Incentive pay is just a completely bad idea,” College Democrats member Rachelle Norberg.
The College Libertarians agreed Referred Law 16 is a bad idea, but said they were concerned with the fact that the law imposes school uniforms.
The College Republicans said their party supports Referred Law 16, believing that incentive payment is the best way to improve education in the state of South Dakota.
“The teachers whose classes have the highest test scores deserve to be rewarded,” College Republicans member Andrew Finzen said. “It may not be the perfect law, but it’s better than most.”
The second question circled around America’s job market and what steps should be taken to increase opportunity in the workforce.
“Free market is obviously the most efficient way to advocate these resources. Libertarians support free trade over fair trade on all accounts,” College Libertarians member Brad Omland said. “We would also abolish the federal reserve and appeal the 16th Amendment.”
The College Democrats then praised the steady growth of the economy and reminded the audience of the continued job growth within the private sector. College Democrats believe in keeping payroll taxes low, repealing Bush tax cuts as well as increasing funding on education, alternative energy and small businesses.
After denying the statistics given by the College Democrats, the College Republicans stressed the importance of relieving the use of food stamps and providing more work opportunities for all Americans.
The College Democrats set the stage for the third question on American warfare and bringing the troops home. Rooted in diplomacy and using war as a last resort, the College Democrats said their party believes America’s global image is crucial in maintaining peaceful relationships.
“We need to make sure people have more confidence in the United States so that they won’t want to hurt us or go to war with us,” College Democrats president Joyce Trudeau said.
The College Libertarians said their party believes in bringing the troops home immediately. While supporting the responsibility of maintaining America’s military, they said they feel strongly about averting away from conflict.
“We need to stop being the world’s policemen,” Omland said. “Why are Americans always the exception to the rules while still resorting to violence?”
The College Libertarians said they also believe in abolishing homeland security and organizations like the CIA.
The College Republicans responded by pointing out flaws in the Obama administration and saying the war is a war on American values that cannot go ignored.
The final question of the debate proved that all three parties could agree on something. Directed towards the oil fields in North Dakota and Montana as well as America’s progress in independent energy, the College Republicans began by saying the utilization of America’s natural resources would supply more job opportunities in addition to loosening the reliability on other nations.
The College Libertarians said their party opposes EPA regulations that prevent the United States from building machines on American soil which could help produce independent energy rather than processing oil overseas.