Representatives for each of the four major presidential candidates attended the Presidential Surrogate Candidates’ Night hosted by SGA and the office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development on Wednesday, Nov. 2.
Each representative spoke for approximately 10 minutes about the candidate’s platform and students then had the chance to ask the panel questions.
Bryan Moss, a member of the Nashua River Green-Rainbow Chapter, represented Green Party Candidate Jill Stein.
Moss spoke about Stein’s plan for 100 percent renewable energy and her stance on increasing the minimum wage to $15, universal health care, abolition of student debt and demilitarizing the police.
He described Stein’s stance as “people and planet over profit” because she does not take contributions from corporations or lobbyists.
He said Stein went to the Dakota Pipeline protests, after which a warrant was issued for her arrest, and said she “is somebody that will stand up for people.”
Moss also said people believe there aren’t more than two choices for president – Clinton and Trump – and encouraged students to “vote into your values.”
Michael Hout is an advance intern for Democratic candidate Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and is a national board member with College Democrats for America.
Hout said he considers Clinton to be “by far the best qualified,” citing her experience as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, two terms as a New York senator and Secretary of State.
He said practically speaking, there are only two candidates and referenced the 2000 presidential election “to see the impact a third-party candidate can have on the impact of the election.”
Hout described Clinton’s campaign platform on ending gun violence, building the economy and fixing the political system.
“She’s the least known, known person. Not many people know the true Hillary. The best example is to look at the fact that she has support from both sides of the aisle,” Hout said.
Marty Lamb is the vice chair of the Make Massachusetts Great PAC and a member of the Massachusetts GOP State Committee. He spoke as a supporter of Republican Candidate Donald Trump, but because of his position in the PAC, he did not directly represent the campaign.
Lamb said as a grassroots activist who has run for office, he “finds the attraction of somebody not in the establishment.”
He said he supports Trump for multiple reasons, including Trump’s stances on building the military, cancelling the Iran deal, strengthening the borders, supporting school choice and the right to bear arms as a personal right.
“It does boil down to two candidates who have a chance to win, but I will not discourage because a vote to me is critical and sacred in this country. … If you can look through the smokescreen, think about the issues,” he said.
Bruce Skarin is a volunteer for Libertarian candidate Gov. Gary Johnson’s campaign, a district 3 director who directs the digital presence for the campaign in Massachusetts.
Sakrin said he supports Johnson because he is “not just because I thought he was the least-worst option, which is kind of the logic being used these days, but because I believe he is the best candidate I have ever seen in my lifetime.”
He said in this election, Hillary and Trump “are ready to burn the capital down. … The real moment of truth is whether we are going to be the spark that ignites that thing or whether we are going to be the rain.”
Johnson is on the ballot in all 50 states, and Sakrin said he is “a fantastically qualified executive” and his belief in individual freedom and a government with limits.
Several students asked the representatives individually and collectively questions.
Freshman Richard McKeen asked the representatives what their candidate’s stance is on incarceration and prison reform and police brutality.
Sakrin said Johnson supports an “across-the-border reform,” including helping people with drug addictions instead of arresting them. He added Johnson supports of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lamb said he didn’t know if Trump had specivfically addressed the issue, but that Trump has spoken about revitalizing inner cities to give youth better opportunities and supports school choice.
Hout said Clinton is “a staunch believer in the need for reform” and has spoken with various committees, representatives from the Black Lives Matter movement, the senate and other groups.
Moss said Stein is calling for “an end to the war on drugs” by legalizing marijuana and releasing nonviolent drug prisoners and removing the conviction from their record while providing support.
Adam Scanlon, SGA treasurer and sophomore, moderated the event with Junior Karl Bryan, student trustee.
Scanlon said, “By having a formal discussion like this, it allowed a more formal exchange of ideas as opposed to the media circus portrayed on TV during the debates. … Vote for what you believe in. Your opinion is never a wasted thought.”