College Students Hope U.S. House Candidates Focus on Education, Economy During Debate


Education and the economy are two topics college students have on their lists for the candidates running for the United States House of Representatives.  On Monday, at 9 p.m. CT, republican Representative Kristi Noem and democratic challenger Paula Hawks face off in our last KELOLAND election debate.  College students are planning to tune in. 

As KELOLAND News has reported, the South Dakota Secretary of State says she’s trying to combat low turnout numbers for young voters.  Two years ago, only 36-percent of 18- to 30-year-olds voted.  This could be incentive for candidates to appeal to the college students, including Austin VanderWeide. 

A university may be a student’s path to a career. VanderWeide’s end goal is nursing. 

“I’ve seen like nurses make an impact like when my grandpa was in hospice care.  Like what they did for him and stuff,” VanderWeide, an Augustana University sophomore, said. 

Getting there is not always easy because college is not cheap. 

“I think it’s super important what a politician’s view is on college education and the costs related to it,” VanderWeide said.

Senior Michael Olwell agrees, and also hopes Representative Noem and candidate Hawks talk about South Dakota’s economy and agriculture. 

“Obviously the first one is jobs.  The economic stability in the state.  I like to see if they have any policies.  If not, throw some ideas out there about what they have to say,” Olwell said. 

Other students, including freshman Sara Telahun Birhe, hope the candidates touch on the heated race to the White House.  She says, other than the issues, voters have a chance to get to know a more personal side of the candidates. 

“In a debate, it’s very important to see who is actually representing you.  Off paper,” Telahun Birhe said. 

“It’s almost equitable to a job interview.  That’s basically what you’re doing when you’re running for house or senate,” Olwell said. 

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