UWO student to challenge Hintz

Jason Neumeyer

Jordan Hansen, UW Oshkosh senior and political science major, announced his candidacy for State Assembly Thursday at the Opera House Square in downtown Oshkosh. Hansen announced that he will be running as a Libertarian and challenging the longtime incumbent Gordan Hinz (D). “I am fighting for liberty, for freedom,” Hansen said during his speech Thursday. “The freedom, which has been slowly eroded by a government who work only for the rich elite.” Hansen said he considers the tenents of liberty to be the most important principle in society. “A Libertarian is someone who believes in the principles of liberty, and who believes, first and foremost, that liberty is the most important thing that we have,” Hansen said. “Liberty is the one principle that I think we [as a society] should agree on.” Hansen said Libertarians support smaller government. “Limited government, little to no intrusion into people’s everyday lives and protecting our rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etcetera,” Hansen said. Hansen said these beliefs in limited government and intervention are intertwined with his focus on the issues and proposed changes to policies that are currently in place. “Some of the main points of my campaign are marijuana legalization, gun rights, gay rights, anti-tax and anti-regulation, in addition to a continued fight for personal freedoms and liberties,” Hansen said. Hansen believes that many of these issues are potentially important to students on campus and that he may be able to better represent some of these views than his opponent. “Both my opponent and I are strong supporters of gay rights, for example,” Hansen said. “However I believe I am stronger on the ideas of gender equality and issues surrounding that, including ending laws which discriminate against the LGBTQ community.” Hansen said although the primary focus of his campaign will be targeted towards people outside of the campus region, he encourages people to contact him with any questions or comments on his positions or his candidacy in general. “The primary focus of the campaign initially is going to be outside of campus and with the rest of the community, primarily because until September 2016 many of the people I may talk to here may graduate or transfer out.” Hansen said. “Anywhere which is considered campus housing is going to be saved for last and will be focused on more during September and October [of 2016].” Hansen said the prospect of running a student campaign oftentimes presents a unique set of difficulties and opportunities the candidate will have to respond to. Graham Sparks, UWO senior and political science major, has a distinct view of these challenges, as Sparks ran for mayor of Oshkosh in the spring of this year. Sparks said he believes being involved in the community and in the political spectrum is something that should be encouraged. “I think that it is really cool to see another student running for office,” Sparks said. “However, there will be a couple of hurdles and challenges along the way which I learned about [in his past campaign].” Sparks said he defines these hurdles as age, low voter turnout on college campuses and time restraints. “A lot of people told me to not focus on my age, and instead focus on what I would like to do or change, which I think is really good advice but, by not focusing on this aspect [my age] I allowed my opponent to use this to his advantage,” Sparks said. Sparks said having the support of students and encouraging them to vote can help Hansen. “You need to get the votes,” Sparks said. “Simple as that. We have 14,000 students here who are eligible to vote because we are a part of the city of Oshkosh. Unfortunately voter turnout on campus is low and in order to make the change, you have to get votes. I think the idea is great, but what the challenge of the society that we live in is overcoming the difficulties of voter turnout.” Sparks said he believes there is a way to fix this, through intentional efforts of ensuring visibility of yourself on campus and in the community. “You have to start early, you have to start fast,” Sparks said. “It is all about the visibility and getting team members on your team to help facilitate the work and stay in the public eye.” Sparks said he finds voter turnout and time constraints work hand-in-hand. “Students don’t want to vote, but honestly, it is mainly because we do not have time,” Sparks said. “If I could have not been a full-time student and instead focused on my campaign, I could have done much better.” Sparks said these three challenges are difficult, but the prospect of being involved in political engagement is worth it in the end. “If we want to be the change and if we want to start getting involved younger and changing the status quo, we can, but it will not be easy,” Sparks said.