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Monica Distefano '14
6th Grade Math Teacher
Major: Elementary Education
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- Curry College Students, Faculty and Guest Panelists “Talk the Vote” with WBZ's Dan Rea
Curry College Students, Faculty and Guest Panelists “Talk the Vote” with WBZ's Dan Rea
November 6, 2012
The night before millions of Americans cast ballots in the 2012 Presidential election, WBZ transformed the Curry College Student Center Gymnasium into a mobile radio station. The campus hosted the eighth and final edition of WBZ's and AARP's "Talk the Vote."
"Nightside" host Dan Rea moderated the informative, and often fiery, discussion between former Congressman and Deputy Chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party Peter Blute, Newton's Democratic Mayor Setti Warren, and Curry College's own Kathleen O'Donnell, Senior Lecturer in Politics and History, and William Nancarrow, Associate Professor in Politics and History and the Interim Dean of Faculty. The panel discussion focused on the issues and ideas that have dominated the headlines for the past year: the economy, the budget, energy, and foreign policy.
The live broadcast began after a warm on-air welcome from President Kenneth K. Quigley, Jr. Rea then fielded phone calls from as far away as Chicago and Pittsburgh. Inside the gymnasium, members of the Curry College community also made their voices heard.
Continuing Education Management student Ann Jean Murphy asked the first audience question, wondering about the possibility that either President Obama or Mitt Romney could lose the popular vote, but still win the Electoral College. Murphy also asked Warren to offer a prediction about what will happen once the bruising campaign is over, "How are the candidates going to be able to have people join together and work for America, instead of being so divisive?"
The Newton Mayor admitted it's a challenge, "We've been through a tough election season, we all know that," Warren said. "But, I think it's going to take a special effort by whoever wins to do it."
Professors Nancarrow and O'Donnell joined the discussion in the second hour of the event, and spoke about the importance of student involvement in the electoral process. O'Donnell and Nancarrow recently teamed up to teach their own class focused on the 2012 Presidential election, and the students spent the first half of the semester analyzing the campaigns, while also making predictions about who would win key battleground states. O'Donnell revealed some results of her students research.
"The poll showed that overwhelmingly Barack Obama would win the Curry vote, but interestingly enough our students thought that Mitt Romney could handle the economy in a better way."
Nancarrow said he was pleased to learn why so many students had signed up for the class he taught alongside O'Donnell, who said that she saw more students taking an active role in the election cycle. Nancarrow agreed, saying, "they wanted to become more engaged in the electoral process and engage in the issues in a new way."
The night ended with a passionate discussion about energy and the economy. Senior Management student Connor Hendry asked the panelists to weigh in on the Keystone Project, a pipeline that would distribute oil from Canada across the United States.
Hendry called it a missed opportunity to boost the economy, saying, "It seems like such an easy way to make jobs, why is Barack Obama so opposed to the Keystone Project, and why has it not been able to go through as quickly as some people thought it would happen?"
Mayor Setti Warren believes the President is not opposed, but wants to make sure it's environmentally sound, "The environment is important, but economic growth is important too. You can do both," Warren said. "The President has taken a multi-pronged approach to energy here in the country, and it's brought us to the lowest levels of dependence on foreign oil in 20 years."
But, Congressman Peter Blute fired back, "The Washington Post, a liberal editorial page, criticized the President on this because Canada is now negotiating with China. They're going to have to ship all that oil across the world, spewing all kinds of energy in order to ship it on a daily basis instead of using it locally."
While discussing these issues the panelists even managed to change the minds of some audience members. At the beginning of the night, three people identified themselves as undecided voters. Two hours later, those three voters said they knew who they would be casting ballots for.