Partisans give it their all

‘Guns, Weed and Healthcare’ draws political opinion and agreement

PSSA | PHOTO COURTESY From Left: Cale Dunwoody, Sierra Heitkamp, Ezra Grey, Bradley Foster, Lindsey Pouliot.

A panel of six politically engaged North Dakota State students spoke on campus Friday about some of America’s favorite topics: guns, weed and health care. A crowd of around 40 people attended the discussion.

The panelist talked for two hours. There was quite a bit of agreement when it came to gun rights and recreational marijuana. The group took a more libertarian stance with all sides agreeing in some fashion that weed and guns should be available to citizens. The conversation didn’t really heat up until the moderator asked about health care.

The Republicans and Libertarians doubled down on their stances that socialized medicine was not good for the country, while the Democrats, specifically William Fleck, advocated for a shift in medical insurance from an employer provided insurance and the Affordable Care Act.

The event itself went smoothly, according to Colby Warzecha, who founded the newly formed campus organization called Political Science Association that hosted the event. “Everyone was very friendly,” Warzecha said. “There where good laughs. There were a lot of agreements. There was a lot of good audience interaction.”

Warzecha said they decided back in January to actually do the event. “Because I knew in my experience with the partisans firsthand, just knowing as friends, as people, they were always down for a debate for an event were they could all get together,” Wazrecha said.

After this, Warzecha said they met with the partisans and discussed the topics of discussion. In the interest of fairness, he said they decided to include specific topics that would be conducive to their platforms. Most of the big details for the event were figured out before spring break, according to Warzecha.

Jeff Bumgarner moderated the event, but Warzecha said he was not the first choice. Professor of political science Thomas Ambrosio had prior engagements and could not moderate. “It wasn’t because Ambrosio was better or something. It was just because he did that last one,” Warzecha said.

The questions were predetermined and seen by the partisans and Warzecha. “Do I think his questions were biased? I mean I hope not,” Warzecha said. According to Warzecha, he and his team “with a consultation from all the partisans did (their) best to make sure they didn’t come across as loaded or accepting the premise or anything like that.”

Warzecha did praise Bumgarner’s on the spot questions and comments during the debate. 

The goals for the event were set in advanced, but Warzecha said he had his own hopes for the events. “I really want to have something that promotes the Political Science Association,” Warzecha said. 

Warzecha said he also wanted to get the word out that the organization is serious about helping students with research and facilitating public discourse. Warzecha said one of his proudest moments came after the discussion. “Watching all the people mingle and interact, I saw my friend who’s super socialist talking with a Libertarian who was also with a Republican,” Warzecha said.

This will remind people that even though people have differences in political opinion and politics can get nasty, it’s all in the pursuit of a better country.

The Political Science Association is a temporary organization that Warzecha said he wants to make a permanent CSO recognized organization. He also said the organization was formed when he was looking for something to do after organizing for the Heidi Heitkamp campaign that would bring people together.

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