Topic: University of Washington
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December 31, 2012 at 7:00 AM
We have filed more than 400 posts on U.S. presidential, state, and local politics over the past 12 months. It’s been an incredible experience as journalists, educators, and citizens. We’re now going to take a break, but we’ll be back in four years for the next presidential rodeo.
Nearly one year ago, on Jan. 14, I boarded an airplane with three University of Washington students and headed across the country. Our mission was epic: to spend a week on the ground reporting on the South Carolina 2012 Republican Party presidential primary. It was our first gig for UW Election Eye, a new blog partnership of the UW’s Department of Communication and The Seattle Times.
One week later I had a pretty good idea who was going to win the 2012 presidential election. Arizona congressional representative Trent Franks told me so.
Franks, one of the nation’s most conservative congressional members and a favorite of the tea party movement, was standing by Newt Gingrich’s bus as Gingrich spoke to supporters in his last stop of the state’s primary. A few hours later Gingrich would win his first statewide race in his life — a double-digit victory over Mitt Romney that upended the Republican primary for a time.
Franks was one of the few members of Congress to endorse Gingrich. A former speaker of the House of Representatives, Gingrich does not have many friends in high political places these days. But Franks is one of them, and he was traveling with Gingrich on the campaign trail.
I spoke with Franks for 10 minutes while Gingrich held court inside a restaurant. Franks told me why he supported Gingrich and why Barack Obama had to be defeated. I thanked him for talking with me and turned to walk away.
That’s when Franks surprised me.
He took hold of my arm and said, “Hold on, I’ve got one more thing to say.” I was listening. He stretched out his index finger and said “The 1 percent. We hear a lot about the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Mitt Romney is a caricature of the 1 percent — rich, out of touch, doesn’t understand most of America. If Republicans nominate Romney in the midst of this terrible economic time, we’re going to lose. That’s why I’m here. We will lose if we pick Romney.”
That’s when I knew: If a diehard conservative, a red-blooded Republican who would do anything to get rid of Obama, thought Romney couldn’t win, then Romney almost certainly wouldn’t win.
That moment is one I’ll not forget. It was one of the hundreds of up-close-and-personal experiences, all over America, that defined UW Election Eye.
November 6, 2012 at 9:22 PM
SEATTLE–With so many viewing parties happening in Seattle tonight, it can be hard to pick the perfect spot. But the newly renovated Husky Union Building on the UW’s Seattle campus appears to be the destination of choice for many students so far – and even for some who don’t attend the UW.
Alem Hamzie and Nebojsa Pavlouie, both 17 and citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said they have been looking forward to this night for quite some time.
“When we were selected to go on this program they said ‘oh, you guys will be there during the elections,’ so this is something that we have been waiting for,” Pavlouie said.
Both Hamzie and Pavouie are part of an 18-member youth leadership group that is working with Foundation for International Understanding Through Students at UW. FIUTS is a program that fosters an international community through the connection of international and American students. The group from Bosnia and Herzegovina are staying in Seattle for three weeks and then will travel to Washington, D.C., for their last week in the U.S.
“America plays a big role in the world so [elections] are big event and it’s really important, even for us in our tiny little country,” said Pavlouie.
Maxine Sugarman, a member of Office of Governmental Relations of ASUW, said that she was attracted to this event because it was inclusive of all students.
“Just looking around I don’t know everyone here, I think that’s a good sign that someone who is a part of the association is seeing new faces.”
Brandon Himes, ASUW Director of Communications who works in the HUB, joked that he attended the event because it was a “close commute.”
Himes said he did not have an expectation of what the turnout would be like for the night. His impression so far is that it’s been nice to have people who support all different kinds of issues gathered in one spot.
The event at the HUB was jointly sponsored by the Office of Governmental Relations of ASUW, the Arts and Entertainment of ASUW and the ASUW Joint Commissions Committee.
Daniel Pham, a senior sociology major at the UW, stumbled upon the event by accident.
“I was walking up to see what it was all about, then there was a lot of students so I figured I’d just join,” said Pham.
Pham said he plans to stay if his friends show up. “I texted them and was like ‘hey, come to the HUB.’”
If they don’t make it, he said he will likely go to a friend’s apartment and continue to follow the elections.
Sugarman and Himes say they plan to stay at least until they announce the Montana results because they are both citizens of that state.
“It’s kind of super cool, because you watch this on TV at home and now you are in the U.S. and watching it for real,” said Pavouie.
October 18, 2012 at 7:10 AM
With the cost of higher education rising along with the level of student debt upon graduation, politicians at the national and state level need to address the issue frankly and provide real solutions.
SEATTLE — As a master’s student at the University of Washington with a small mountain of student loans, I find myself paying even closer attention to the 2012 election. And I don’t just mean listening to Mittens and BO (an unfortunate combination of nicknames if I’ve ever seen one). I think the Washington State governor’s race is just as important.
I have been educated entirely through Washington State public schools, from kindergarten through my last quarter of graduate school (not counting one year in pre-kindergarten lest some fact checker start digging). First of all, let me say thanks to anyone who has made a purchase in state for the financial support. Secondly, I need to come out of the closet, as a current Husky who did her undergrad at Washington State University.
We all know that tuition rates have shot up at colleges around the state (and country) in the past few years. But let me just put it in perspective. My final year of undergraduate study at WSU, the tuition cost $5,812, a 7% increase from the previous year. This past May, five years later, WSU approved a tuition rate of $10,874 for 2012-2013, a 16% increase from the previous year.
That’s 87% more than my final year of undergraduate. In five years.
Similar raises were made at other state universities and the proposal has been made to de-fund the University of Washington. Higher education in Washington State has been dramatically impacted by the recession over the past four years. Yesterday WSU President Floyd proposed tying the school’s tuition increases to the Consumer Price Index, so that the cost would rise with inflation.
Add to that the issue of student debt. As of 2010, the average graduate in Washington has a student debt load of over $22,000. This year total student loan debt passed credit card debt in the U.S. and has topped $1 trillion (an amount Austin Powers didn’t even use in 1999).
American Student Assistance reports that “as of the first Quarter of 2012, the under 30 age group has the most borrowers at 14 million, followed by 10.6 million for the 30-39 group, 5.7 million in the 40-49 category, 4.6 million in the 50-59 age group and the over 60 category with the least number of borrowers at 2.2 million for an overall total of 37.1 million.”
Of the 37 million student loan borrowers, around 5.9 million have fallen at least 12 months behind on payments. Combine that with high interest rates for those who default and no federal statute of limitations on collections, and it seems to me a recipe for disaster.
Maybe you think I’m overreacting. But I think the number 1,000,000,000,000 says otherwise.
Budget shortfalls and cuts today are something the younger generations are going to pay for for decades to come. Add to that higher than average unemployment rates for recent graduates, higher numbers than ever moving back in with parents, and issues with programs like Social Security and Medicare, and I think we have a recipe for disaster.
I know I sound alarmist – I swear that’s not my default setting – but this issue should be leading discussions during this election season. (Along with the environment, health care, jobs, etc., etc. Okay,we have a few issues.)
I’ve been thankful to see it as a such a focus in the Washington governor’s race, but I’d like to see it more in the national conversation. Mitt Romney promising one student a job after graduation, which he did in Tuesday’s presidential debate, isn’t enough.
August 27, 2012 at 12:45 PM
SEATTLE — It’s campaign season, and this election figures to be an important one. With so much on the ballot, from gay marriage to a potentially historic governor’s race, The Seattle Times and the University of Washington Election Eye are teaming up to host meetups to help voters understand what’s at stake.
We have a few ideas ourselves (example: a panel of experts analyzing how legal marijuana would change Seattle life), but we want to hear from you:
- Which topics should we cover?
- Who should we bring in?
- Where should these take place?
Please fill out the online survey to help us with this important projects:
Thanks, we really appreciate it.
June 11, 2012 at 6:30 AM
During election cycles, much attention is paid to the economy, and more specifically, job creation. UWEE talked to a homeless woman in Seattle about how she found herself on the street after her career faltered, which provides a sobering reminder of how easily it could happen to others.
SEATTLE — Melanie has bright eyes, a welcoming smile, and a wicked laugh. She is 27 years old, a jewelry artist, an expectant mother, and a self-proclaimed Republican. A former Whidbey Island resident, Melanie currently lives on the streets. She panhandles for a living, sleeping in doorways with her boyfriend and her dog Duke.
Five years ago, Melanie’s life was very different. She explained that she owned her own home and a successful jewelry business. Then the economy turned. “The tourists started buying cheap key chains and stopped buying my jewelry,” she said. Without reliable income, she found herself struggling to make ends meet. First, the career she built was lost. The house followed.
While standing on the corner of 45th and University Way, a stone’s throw from the University of Washington campus, Melanie and Duke hold court. Melanie displays a sign asking for money for marijuana and beer. She says that the sign is more for the amusement of those that pass her on the streets than anything else: local college kids will give to a cause when they readily agree with the sentiment. A young man stops and gives Melanie two cigarettes and she tucks one behind each ear. He laughs, then gives her two more to which she responds, “I only have two ears!” and pretends to give them to her dog. A college-aged young man hands Melanie ten bucks and tells her to buy Duke dog food, to which she smiles and says, “I will! Thanks!”
June 4, 2012 at 7:42 AM
The University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin-Madison share more than initials; both universities and their students are struggling with the rising costs of education and its impact on the quality of education.
MILWAUKEE — This Sunday, the Foster School of Business graduation ceremony marked the end of Cheney Ferrell’s four years at the UW. And although she has worked 20 hours a week since the beginning of her sophomore year of college to make ends meet, Sunday’s graduation also triggered the six-month countdown until she starts paying back about $15,000 in loans.
For another UW student — a University of Wisconsin-Madison student — graduation might mean the same thing in a few years. Jensen Trotter just finished up his sophomore year at UW-Madison and is looking for another job, since his and 18 other positions at the campus’ Multicultural Student Coalition were recently cut. Although he hasn’t taken out much money in loans so far, thanks to a small amount of federal aid and savings from his parents, Trotter knows the financial responsiblity that comes with getting a college degree.
April 15, 2012 at 2:10 PM
The 46th legislative district, covering Northeast Seattle, Lake Forest Park and Kenmore, has a whole new shape, and a whole new slate of candidates following formative events within the last year.
46th LD – old in red, new in blue | View in a larger map
This was the home district of the late Sen. Scott White whose untimely passing last year left a hole not only in Olympia, but also in the heart of the 46th. White would have been the majority whip and vice-chair of the transportation committee this session.
April 15, 2012 at 7:55 AM
Why do you vote? It’s a simple question, yet not always easy to answer.
TACOMA — Personally, it took me a while to offer anything remotely eloquent or thoughtful (and even that’s debatable) to the question at the top of this post.
I vote because I know it’s an important action to take as an engaged and active citizen. I vote because I hope that as a member of a participatory democratic process my voice can and will be heard. But ultimately, I vote because many people my age do not. By taking action I hope to make my generation become more engaged in our political system.
March 1, 2012 at 5:44 PM
All was pretty quiet here in my third-story grad-student office at the University of Washington, my desk piled high with dusty books.
Then my cellphone rang, with an “802″ area code. I answered.
“Hello, my name is Robert,” a voice told me. “You have been selected to participated in an automated poll.” He/it went on to ask if I planned on “supporting” (1) President Obama, (2) Mitt Romney, (3) Rick Santorum, (4) Ron Paul, or (5) Newt Gingrich.
“0″ was reserved for “other or undecided.”
I found the order a bit odd, but I made my choice. The voice then said, “Thank you for participating. Goodbye.”
Once the call ended I was left back in the comparative silence of my office. It felt like I was in Ohio or Colorado or some other state that usually matters more in these kinds of contests. But then I remembered that, well, Washington does matter, more than usual this year.
Thank you, Mr. Robo-Robert, for the reminder.
February 27, 2012 at 6:30 AM
This Saturday, Republicans across Washington state will cast votes for their presidential nominee. It will be their big moment. In 2008 it was mine.
I began the year as a high school senior, and I looked forward to doing something I had been longing to do since taking U.S. History in 8th grade: to vote in a presidential election. When I learned about the slate of candidates, I was certain I would be voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton — first in the Democratic primary and then in the general election.
I could not wait to be a part of history and support someone I felt so strongly about.
I was teethed on a love for Hillary Clinton. I of course did not understand all her complexities, but as a little girl I looked up to this strong woman leader. My childhood fascination with her developed over time into a respectful admiration. When she began campaigning to be the Democratic presidential nominee in the 2008 election, I was proud to fully support her.
I did not have much time to volunteer myself towards her campaign but I told friends why I thought she was the best for the job. I said she was a sophisticated politician with experience and clear goals for what she wanted to do in the White House. I also found it exciting to think I could be a part of electing the first woman U.S. president.
This was not the popular position for my demographic.
Young voters were engaging in droves to support Barack Obama, and I quickly began to get lobbied by my friends to change my mind. People called me a young feminist, as if that were a bad thing. It’s not, of course. They’d bring up things Obama said and argue that he was the politician for our generation while Clinton was one from previous years.
One of my friends told me early on that there was no way Clinton would win, and convinced me to go to the Obama rally at Key Arena in Seattle. It was happening the day before the Democratic caucuses in early February, and my friends jested that maybe it would finally get me to vote the “right way” like the rest of my peers.
Maybe my friends saw the Obama rally as an intervention moment for me.
We arrived at Key Arena at 9 a.m. and I remember expecting to see more people. Within the
next hour though, the crowd arrived and began to snake through the entire Seattle Center.
People spoke of how Governor Christine Gregoire had endorsed Obama, saying he was a “charismatic and skilled leader that could bring the country together.” The governor noted her admiration for Clinton, but clearly her love did not run as deep as mine.
But then the Obama address was, well, mesmerizing. He arrived late after taking the time to meet with the crowd of thousands outside before he came into the arena. In his speech he touched topics that mattered to me as a young voter — job creation, economic growth and health care reform — and I left feeling motivated in a new way.
I was now confused about how to vote in the caucuses. That night Clinton was hosting an event in Seattle, a rally at Pier 30 on the waterfront. I desperately wanted to go, but no one wanted to go with me. I’ll say that again: none of my friends wanted to go.
That evening, I assessed why I was a Clinton supporter. Much of my rationale had been rooted in seeing her as a more experienced politician whom I felt would be better as president, but after seeing Obama’s presence on stage, it became a toss up. He made me feel that he valued the youth more, and I felt myself sliding into his camp.
The next day I went to the caucus with my mom. I convinced her that morning to vote Obama with me. We both caucused for Obama and I even persuaded a few other individuals at our caucus to vote Obama as well.
I was called a bandwagon fan for voting Obama that day, but I never felt that I was switching sides. I changed my vote from Clinton but retained all my respect for her. I simply became convinced that Clinton would not win and wanted to ensure the second-best for me got the support he needed.
In August, Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. In her speech she said “Whether you voted for me or you voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as one single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team. And none of us can afford to sit on the sidelines.”
I watched with tears in my eyes, aware of my mixture of sadness and respect. But if Clinton was moving forward then I would too. When she came out in full support of Obama and began campaigning on his behalf, I smiled and hung a “Hope” banner as well.
I came to understand why people were so infatuated with Obama. Will.i.am wrote a song based on his “Yes We Can” speech, the New York Times endorsed him, and then Leonardo DiCaprio came out in support of him. Say what you will about the former and latter, but all three of these were significant to me as a young voter.
Upon entering the University of Washington, I joined the Young Democrats and helped
register voters on campus. I had an Obama sign in my dorm-room window and marched across the campus with hundreds of my peers when he won that November.
But I never fell out of love with Hillary. Even now, I’m a Hillary supporter; I smile instinctively when I see her on TV, defend her in a crowded room and even when some see her as a polarizing figure. I feel I’ve never faltered.
In fact, Clinton is just reaching her professional prime. As Secretary of State, her approval ratings hover around two-thirds in support, an all time high for her. She’s a leader both in the country and abroad, and a few even tried to encourage her to run against Obama in 2012 — yes this year.
There could only be one president, but there can be two leaders for my generation.