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UA Picks a President: Let the students do the talking

Justin Laos' case for Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz’s book is titled “A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America.” I believe in those words.

A time for truth. The truth that we are less free then we’ve ever been. The truth that higher education puts us in debt for the rest of our lives. The truth that lower education standards place us behind the rest of the world in terms of graduation. The truth that young Americans can’t find a job in this economy. The truth that a $19 trillion debt is hanging over our heads. The truth that government is more a part of our life than it was ever intended to be. The truth that the American people have lost their faith and trust in their representatives. The truth that our rights and liberties are being taken away every day.

This is the truth.

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Now is the time when we should say enough is enough. The government must be limited and the only candidate who can lead people against the overbearing government is Ted Cruz.

He is the only candidate with a proven, consistently conservative record. He has time after time stood up to the establishment, even with all odds against him, and protected America’s liberty. He’s been an outstanding state solicitor general in Texas, where he protected our First Amendment rights, our Second Amendment rights and the sovereignty of the state of Texas.

Cruz has a history of understanding and protecting the Constitution. This is arguably more important than any kind of political knowledge or business experience.

America is at a tipping point. We don’t need a president to run the country better, we need a president who will allow us, the American people, to run our own country. When America has the power, there is no stopping us.

A vote for Cruz isn’t a vote for the lesser of two evils. It isn’t a vote for who had the most TV time or who won the most debates. A vote for Cruz is simply a vote for yourself. It’s a statement that you don’t need big government, you don’t need pointless regulations, you don’t need wasteful government programs and you don’t need a law to regulate every aspect of your life.

This is the year that we can say, “This is our life, this is our country and this is our future.”

To the government, we need to say, “Its time you take a step back.”

— Justin Laos is a 6th generation Tucsonan who has interned and worked for multiple political campaigns. He started SignTrack App, a program for political campaigns that tracks and manages campaign signs


Jacquelyn Oesterblad's case for Hillary Clinton

In a year of insurgents and political outsiders, I’m supporting the woman that the New York Times called “one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history.”

I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.

I’m not convinced by promises of purity from candidates who never served a day in office, nor am I moved by promises of revolution from candidates who are doing the least revolutionary thing possible by seeking the nomination of a major party to assume the leadership of the executive branch.

I’m looking for someone who can take the institution of the presidency as it is and use it to create solid progress for the citizens of our country. I am convinced by Clinton’s case that she is that candidate.

Clinton fought for health care reform before it was Democratic orthodoxy. President Barack Obama entrusted her as secretary of state with repairing the U.S.’s post-Iraq image abroad.

As a senator, she had a consistent, progressive voting record—to the left of Obama’s, according to the method most commonly used among political scientists— but unlike Sen. Sanders, she also worked well with others. She secured the endorsements of 40 current Democratic senators. Sanders has been endorsed by zero.

Combine this with her political know-how, her strategy for using executive power and her raw drive and intelligence, and I am convinced that she will be a more successful president than any other on the menu. She has presented concrete, detailed proposals for universal pre-K, tuition-free college and comprehensive immigration reform that I respect and believe.

This is the most important point of all: In choosing a presidential candidate, I am not choosing a perfect person. I am not looking for a life partner or a religious leader. I want someone whose general values I share, whose personality and intellect I trust and who is seeking to represent me. Clinton shares my fundamental belief in equality of opportunity. She is whip-smart, tough as nails and she has proven her willingness to learn and listen to her constituents. Just think of her evolution on issues like racial justice and LGBTQ equality.

This, combined with her specific, solid platform, makes me confident that activists and citizens will be able to hold Clinton accountable. That’s how progress happens—through a back-and-forth discussion between citizens and their elected officials, in which possibilities meet the demands of governance and the letter of the law.

I am voting for Clinton because I believe in the American people and the American system. I believe Clinton is the leader who can best use the latter to serve the needs of the former.

But that doesn’t sound sexy, so let me also say: Clinton is a badass and a rockstar. I’m with her.

Jacquelyn Oesterblad is a UA senior studying Political Science, Global Studies and Middle Eastern & North African Studies. She has blogged about the Democratic Primary in the Huffington Post


Diego Vlasic's case for Donald Trump

I have spent my life dedicated to political activism and improving the collective lives of my fellow Americans, regardless of political orientation.

When I was young, I joined my mother in an activist movement to campaign for smaller class sizes in New York City public schools. We lobbied everywhere from the New York City Council to the New York State Legislature. We successfully lowered the number of children in a single classroom so that impoverished students had more individualized learning experiences.

From a young age, I learned there is no greater joy than helping out my fellow Americans, which is why I have always strived to do the right thing and to help others when I can. I also spent time volunteering south of the border in Agua Prieta, Sonora. We must also help those who were not fortunate enough to be born in our great country.

These are the same qualities I see in Donald Trump, which is why I am supporting him.

We need a leader who will stand up for the average guy and improve the standards of living for all Americans. We don’t need another career politician who is removed from the problems of the everyday American and the struggles that we, as college students, suffer from.

I have firsthand experience with the struggles of the modern student. From crippling student debt to a hostile job market, we need Trump to fix the problems that have risen from the previous presidencies.

I have actively followed this election cycle and I believe that the only person who can solve our country’s problems is Trump.

— Diego Vlasic is a New York City native-turned-Tucsonan who has been politically involved in NYC, Tucson and across the border in Agua Prieta


Rob Egan's case for John Kasich

I was in the trenches of congressional elections in spring 2014. Yet in the back of my mind, finding a 2016 presidential candidate seemed just as important.

We need a candidate who can take on the bloodhounds in Washington, but who also understands state government. My friend and I scoured lists of candidates and settled on Gov. John Kasich, the Ohio governor who was seeking a second term as the state’s chief executive and with little opposition.

I first became interested in Kasich when I heard about his leadership for people with disabilities in Ohio. Kasich pushed for autism insurance reform—albeit unsuccessfully—in his state in the same year I was part of a group who, after six tries, successfully passed similar legislation in Kansas. I was intrigued to see a conservative Republican governor in a swing state support people with disabilities. As someone with a disability, I was pleased. So I dug deeper.

Kasich served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was the chairman of the House Budget Committee for six years and the architect of four consecutive, balanced federal budgets. In Ohio, he successfully enacted the nation’s largest tax cut, while closing the state’s deficit gap and creating a $2 billion surplus. He believes in treating those addicted to drugs with rehabilitation services, not prison sentences, and has implemented this strategy in Ohio.

Kasich understands the role of the federal government. His plan for his first 100 days in presidential office includes starting a path to a balanced budget and returning the power for things like education back to the states. Kasich’s record establishes him as a fiscal hawk and as a compassionate conservative. He supports additional services to treat the mentally ill, part of his Medicaid expansion strategy that drew flack from some in the Republican Party.

He stands for traditional marriage, but said the court has spoken, and will not fight the same-sex marriage ruling. He is a pro-life leader and recently earned praise for defunding Planned Parenthood in Ohio.

The governor delivers Ohio to the Republicans—a state they may not be able to win the White House without—and is the only candidate capable of defeating Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in crucial general election states like Ohio, New Hampshire and Virginia.

Kasich has talked the talk and walked the walk. He says what he believes, which is what we need in a president. He urges folks to slow down and help each other. If you want a servant-leader of great character and trusted solutions as president, you should support Kasich on the March 22, during the Presidential Preference election.

Rob Egan is the founder and president of the American Collegiate Society for Adaptive Athletics (ACSAA)


Zac Harris' case for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders’ campaign marks a huge change not only in the Democratic Party, but in American politics as a whole. I believe this change is in favor of a vast majority of Americans.

I understand that a lot of people do not agree with Sanders’ economic policy, especially when it comes to his ideas on social programs. That’s fine. I understand where they are coming from, especially if they are fiscally conservative.

Personally, I agree with these proposed policies. I think that, despite the fact that he will increase the social safety net, Sanders will manage to reduce the annual deficit with his proposed tax plans and, in turn, reduce the national debt. I’m sure this isn’t ideal for fiscal conservatives, but at least under his tax plan we would see a decrease in national debt despite an increased social safety net.

But that really isn’t what’s important about Sanders. Not to me, anyway.

What is important about Sanders is who he will nominate to various committees—over 1,200 positions—who he will put in his cabinet and who he will nominate to the Supreme Court.

Those positions aren’t important because of who he will put into those offices. It is important why he will put them there.

Sanders is not a purchased politician. Sanders is not controlled by special interests. He does not work with super PACs. There is no one with the last name Soros or Koch coordinating his campaign.

Instead, his campaign is made up of millions of average people who support him because they agree with what he says.

Sanders wants to fix this broken campaign finance system and has not compromised his values to make that a reality. The issue of campaign finance, Sanders’ outstanding record of civil rights for all Americans, his stance on environmental issues and his nearly 40 years of political experience, without his compromising who he is or what he believe in, are the reasons why Sanders is the best choice to be the next president of the United States.

Zac Harris is a UA junior studying English. He has supported Bernie Sanders since first hearing about him in 2012


Timothy DesJarlais' case for Marco Rubio

We are little more than a decade into the 21st century and the time has come for new leadership in America.

I support Marco Rubio because he offers a new hope for our generation. Unlike the other presidential candidates, Rubio understands the issues facing our generation and is willing to take a 21st-century approach to fixing them.

Rubio’s life story is one of resilience and perseverance. Having grown up in a home where his parents worked hard to create a better future for him, he understands the importance of the everyday individual and will fight to improve the lives of the working class.

Rubio—like many college students and young adults across America—was saddled with student loan debt, which he was only able to pay off recently. Rubio understands the plight students are going through with rising tuition costs and the increasing need for student loans. He is the only serious presidential candidate who has proposed real solutions to the student debt crisis.

Rubio supports consolidating and organizing information about tax incentives, loan availability, scholarships and graduation information in order to make them more accessible for prospective students. He also supports creating an income-based repayment system. This system would make it easier for students to pay off loans and encourage private sector investment to open the door for more opportunities and decrease the federal loan burdens of taxpayers.

Rubio was also one of the few people in the Senate with enough guts to address the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. Today, most politicians hide behind rhetoric and cast doubt over Rubio’s conservative credentials after he was willing to look at an issue that most Americans are concerned about.

Rubio did eventually walk away from the deal after it was derailed and has insisted on a strategy that includes three parts: securing our border and cracking down on sanctuary cities to restore the rule of law, reforming our immigration system to allow merit-based instead of family-based admittance, and creating a pathway to legal status for those who are willing to pay a fine and follow our country’s laws. They would remain in our workforce and pay taxes, but they would not be able to drain our social programs and, if they obey the law, they can eventually apply for permanent status as a citizen after a decade.

Rubio has what it takes and, unlike other politicians who just spout rhetoric, he has a pragmatic leadership style that will help him bring an era of prosperity to our great nation. Vote Rubio for president, because your country depends on it.

Timothy DesJarlais is a current UA student studying Political Science



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