San Francisco mayoral candidates come to SF State Thursday

SF Mayor

California State Senator Leland Yee (center) smiles during a mayoral forum at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. Photo by Elijah Nouvelage.

While political candidates may often be hard to reach, students and community members will be able to interact with mayoral candidates at SF State Thursday with a little help from Associated Students Inc.

ASI members have made arrangements to bring as many mayoral candidates as possible to a forum from noon to 2 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 18, in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

“The main goal of this event is to have students become more aware of politics and to be able to participate in the process,” Gutierrez said.

Candidates will be able to table and speak with students on the ground level of the student center. Students and other community members will have the opportunity to introduce themselves and ask candidates questions, according to Gutierrez.

So far ASI has received confirmations for seven candidates and interest from two others. The confirmed candidates for the forum include John Avalos, Leland Yee, David Chiu, Paul Currier, Wilma Pang, Cesar Ascarrunz, Bevan Dufty, Terry Baum, Joanna Rees and Emil Lawrence.

According to Yesenia Martinez, vice president of external affairs, ASI sought cultural and political student organizations for this event to offer them the opportunity to engage with the candidates as well.

“I genuinely feel the student organizations will gain an understanding by hosting event that we are a serious board,” Martinez said. “We get stuff done, we all try to be the voice for students the best way we can.”

Students also believe that this forum will help to connect the mayoral candidates with the SF State community.

“Politicians need to be able to have a discourse with the youthful forward thinkers at SF State,” said Jackson Peining, 20, SF State junior and international relations major. “Finally bridge the gap.”

To bridge that gap and raise voting awareness, the SF State College Democrats organization has also been working with ASI to organize a voter registration campaign. The College Democrats hope to register at least 50 students, according to Paul Murre with the College Democrats.

“It’s important for young people to register to vote because we have seen the CSU system being sidelined time after time again by California state government,” Murre said. “If students vote, then politicians in Sacramento may reconsider slashing vital funding and increasing tuition next time, if young people turn out this November.”

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