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October 28, 2004 - Image 16

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4B - The Michigan Daily - Election Guide - Thursday, October 28
STATE POLITICS
House race splits on gay marriage ban

The Michig
Pop culture icons reach out to you

By Farayha Arrine
Daily Staff Reporter
The key difference between the two men
running for the state's 53rd district, which
includes Ann Arbor, is a controversial topic in
American politics today.
Incumbent Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor) and
Republican newcomer Eric Sheagren differ in
their view of Proposal 2 to amend the state's
constitution to ban same-sex marriage..
Kolb, Michigan's first openly gay legislator,
opposes the proposal and said it would cut benefits
received by homosexual partners in a civil union.
Sheagren, however, said he would like to
work to preserve the definition of marriage
that currently stands in Michigan's Defense of
Marriage Act.

Voters will decide the issue on Tuesday.
For the last four years, Kolb has been elected
twice by a largely Democratic constituency as
Ann Arbor's representative in the state House,
and he received 78 percent of the vote in the
August primaries against Sheagren.
Because a large part of his constituency is made
of University students, faculty and staff, Kolb has
taken on a number of issues to address concerns
that the campus community may have.
Among these is the budget crisis the Uni-
versity has faced in the last year and is expect-
ed to continue to face next year. As a member
of the House Appropriations Committee that
makes budget decisions, Kolb voted for a pro-
posal sponsored by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to
reduce tuition costs.
The proposal, which encourages public uni-

versities to cap tuition increases at the rate of
inflation in exchange for receiving back some
of the money cut from their budgets in 2003,
was implemented by the University this year
as tuition rates increased just 2.4 percent. The
University expects to receive $20 million from
the state this year under the plan.
Kolb, however, expressed concern over how
much money is allocated to higher education.
"The state's corrections budget is now sur-
passing our higher education budget by a little
bit. That's a statement on where the priorities
have been," Kolb said of the Republican-con-
trolled House's funding decisions.
Sheagren received 22 percent of the vote in the
August primaries. Sheagren said he also supports
Granholm's proposal on tuition caps and added that
universities should not continue raising tuition costs.

"I wonder how I'm gong to send my own kid
to college," said the 25-year-old landscaper.
Sheagren added that he would do more to
improve scholarships and grants at the University.
Kolb supports a mass transit system from
Ann Arbor to Detroit, particularly for out-of-
state students who have trouble finding trans-
portation to Detroit Metro Airport.
Kolb has also been involved in sponsoring
environmental legislation, and along with Sen.
Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor), introduced bills for
the Water Legacy Act, which would tighten
the restrictions on using surface and ground
water in Michigan.
Sheagren said one of his goals would be to
empower citizens to make their own decisions
and stop depending on Lansing to run their
lives but he did not offer more specific plans.

I

D gell seeks 26th
term in U.S. House

By Krystin Elizabeth
For the Daily
This year's presidential campaign
isn't just being played out in news
media. It's in magazines. On websites.
In the lyrics of your favorite song. In the
words of your favorite entertainer. This
year's presidential election has been
pushed deep into the mainstream by the
country's coveted pop culture.
A growing number of organizations
have emerged this year with the inten-
tion to move the youth of America,
traditionally the least active election
participants, to the voting booths.
Instead of using politicians or educa-
tors however, these organizations have
been creating coalitions of celebrities to
reach out to the young generation.
From MTV's "Choose or Lose" cam-
paign to the WWE's "Smackdown Your
Vote!", entertainment outlets have been
rallying all season long to get the young-
er generation involved in the election.
Van Toffler, president of MTV and
MTV2, said in a written statement, "The
goal of 'Choose or Lose 2004' and '20
Million Loud' is to give this enormous
pool of potential voters the tools they
need to make informed choices, get
involved in the political process and
become motivated to make the ultimate
choice in our democracy."
When MTV.com presented its first ever
"PRElection," a fake election for young
adults to cast their presidential votes,
almost 120,000 people used the PRElec-
tion to register to vote in the real presiden-
tial election. According to the website, Jtiis
made the PRElection one of the most used
voter-registration tools this election year.
"I think that the endorsements of
celebrities are a sign of the times,"
Music School senior Julia Bocknowski
said. "Never in our lifetimes have the
issues concerning our country been

quite so divisive. The impact that these
stars have on youth will of course be
huge, since so many young people get
their news from stations like MTV."
Other nonpartisan organizations such
as "Hip Hop Team Vote" and "Rock the
Vote" have also been working to rally
the country's youth. Rock the Vote has
created public service announcements
with Justin Timberlake, Ricky Mar-
tin, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel
Jackson speaking out about the impor-
tance of voting. The Hip Hop Team
Vote alliance of artists such as Beyonce
Knowles, P. Diddy and Will Smith ral-
lied in mid-August to register more than
11,000 new young voters at a single
event in Philadephia.
But pop culture's influence is extend-
ing beyond just registering the youth of
America. Musicians, actors and actress-
es alike are picking up their micro-
phones and voicing their own political
views in efforts to sway the voters to
their own side. Appearing on talk shows,
in commercials and on tour, celebrities
are making their political affiliations
known and working to sway the crucial
youth vote.
The recent Vote for Change musi-
cal tour, featuring Bruce Springsteen,
Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, REM and
Ben Harper, toured the country's swing
states including Michigan to speak to
concert-goers about the importance of
defeating President Bush.
Other Kerry supporters include
Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Leon-
ardo DiCaprio, Green Day, Good Char-
lotte, John Mellencamp and the Dixie
Chicks. A group called Punk Voter also
sponsored a series of Rock Against Bush
tours featuring artists such as NOFX,
Alkaline Trio and Tom Morello. The
group later issued two compilation
CDs that feature Green Day, Foo
Fighters, No Doubt, and Sum 41.

"I knew who I would vote for this
election, so I was not heavily affected
by the activism of entertainers," LSA
senior Maureen Ferry said. "However, I
loved hearing about new musicians per-
forming on the Vote for Change tour. As
these celebrities and entertainers are a
main focus of
many young Celebrity En
people, I defi-
nitely think
they should In the Republican cor
voice their Ricky Martin, Kid Roc
opinions." Britney Spears, RebaI
Kerry
supporters the
aren't 'the In Democratic cor
only musi- Julia Roberts, Gwynet
cians tuning DiCaprio, Green Day,..
in to youth,
however.
There has also been musical activism
supporting President Bush through-
out the campaign season, tending to
appeal to a different demographic.
Kid Rock recently performed at a

The Gaitlin Brothers
dorsements
ner:
ck, Lee Ann Womack,
McIntyre
ner:
h Paltrow, Leonardo
John Mellencamp

party honoring House Speaker De
nis Hastert during the Republica
National Convention, while count:
singer Lee Ann Womack joined tl
campaign trail with Bush in Ohi
Country acts Brooks & Dunn ai

also perform<
during tt
conventior
Other
celebrity
Republican
include Ric
Martin, C.(
DeVille
Poison, Cli
Black, Re
McIntyre ai
Wayne Nec
ton. Britn(
Spears at,

appeared in an interview with CN1N
Tucker Carlson pledging her support f
the President.
The impact of the pop cultu
activism craze could potentially ha'

By Farayha Arrine
Daily Staff Reporter
For nearly half a century, John Ding-
ell (D-Ann Arbor) has served in the U.S.
House of Representatives and will most
likely continue to do so, as he is heavily
favored to win Tuesday's congressional
race after gaining 77 percent of the vote
in the August primaries.
Dingell will face Republican Dawn
Reamer, a 29-year-old attorney from
Huron Township. Reamer said she will
continue in the race despite knowing that
it will more than likely go to Dingell.
As a Democratic candidate for a heav-
ily Democratic district, Dingell's stance
on issues ranging from environmental
policy to race-based admissions has
been received well by the 15th district.
Dingell said he is anxious to get the
House back from the Republicans to run
things the right way.
On Iraq, Dingell voiced reservations
last year about the way the President
Bush had chosen to go to war.
"Preemptive, unilateral military
action without international support
remains gravely troubling. ... It will
also mean that the United States will
bear the costs of the war, the occupation
and the reconstruction of Iraq alone," he
said. But Dingell added that Americans
should support its troops.
His stance on the Arab-Israeli con-
flict has been to call on the president to
actively pursue peace in the region. Bush
announced early in his presidency that he
would not deal with Yasser Arafat, the

president of the Palestinian Authority, cit-
ing his ties with terrorism.
Dingell has also opposed Bush
administration initiatives such as the
Patriot Act, voting against it in 2001.
He added that he would also like to end
the No Child Left Behind Act, a broad
education initiative the president enact-
ed in 2002 that links school funding
to standardizing tests results. The act
has drawn criticism from some teach-
ers who say the government has under-
funded it.
Dingell remains, like many Dem-
ocrats, a strong opponent of Bush's
tax cuts and said he would also like
to see an end to the outsourcing of
jobs.
Last year, when the U.S Supreme
Court ruled against LSA's system
of awarding points to applicants
based on race, but allowed the use
of race-conscious admissions, Din-
gell hailed the decision as a victory.
He has since worked to oppose the
Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
that aims to end all considerations
of race in Michigan's public sector.
"The threat of affirmative action
repeal is ruining our campuses," he
said of the initiative.
Dingell receives some of his highest
interest-group ratings from environ-
ment and civil rights groups. He also
received an "A+" from the National
Rifle Association this year. Dingell has
been a gun-rights advocate and did not
support a renewal of the assault weap-
ons ban last month.

I

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