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UC Berkeley Point of View

What issue in the 2004 presidential election is most important to you?

A thousand points of view
Check out the Point of View archive, with student opinions on the Free Speech Movement, same-sex marriage, and more.
– The Iraq war, homeland security, tax cuts, the job market, stem-cell research — these issues have been front and center during the presidential debates and the stump speeches of both President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. But are they critical to Berkeley students? Yes and no, it turns out, according to this unscientific survey of students found in and around Sproul Plaza. Full disclosure: four students declined to answer, saying they weren't following any issues in particular, and we've omitted two who would not provide their names along with their opinions.

Janeshia Adams-Ginyard
'Education and health care. Education in inner cities and rural areas, and particularly for people of color, is not good enough. Teachers who hardly make any money are having to buy their own supplies. This election is crucial — it can expand the playing field and level it out for students of color, or it can increase the gap. And with health care — I am shocked by the number of Americans who don't have health insurance. There are so many people who work, professional people, and can't afford health care. That's wrong.'
—Janeshia Adams-Ginyard, fourth-year linguistics major. Hometown: Cerritos, CA.

'Education prices, in the form of tuition fees, and income taxes. Those two issues affect my financial health the most. And I'd like both of them to go down.'
—Min Lee, second-year business (intended) major. Hometown: Corona, CA.
Min Lee

Jessica Hamon
'A woman's right to choose. If I got pregnant, I would want to be able to have a range of options available to me. Basically, I want control over my own uterus.'
—Jessica Hamon, first-year molecular and cell biology (intended) major. Hometown: Mountain View, CA.

'The war in Iraq. I'm concerned about the precedent it has set, the way we've lost all international support, and where the country is going from a global perspective. Domestic issues are important too, but not as much as the war is.'
—Alex Hafez, third-year classics major. Hometown: Berkeley, CA.
Alex Hafez

'It's hard to say, because I don't think either candidate has addressed young people's issues, such as education, minorities, health issues — they've just talked abut the war the whole time. Many young people don't have health insurance. If I weren't going to Berkeley, I probably wouldn't have it.'
—Ghada Haddad, third-year political science major. Hometown: San Clemente, CA. (photo withheld on request)

'Do I have to answer? I'm Republican and I don't want to get yelled at. But I have to say government spending. I don't see the Iraq war lasting more than a couple more years, but if Kerry's elected, he'll be in for eight years and then probably Hillary [Clinton] for eight more. I don't think the United States can afford that, economically. I think Bush will be better for the economy.'
—Stephen Stradley, fourth-year history of art major. Hometown: Sacramento, CA.
Stephen Stradley

Ziwei Hu
'Especially at a time like this, I'd have to say foreign policy. If I were 18, I would vote for Kerry because I don't think we can afford to keep things the way they are, with Bush's unilateralism and disregard for other countries. If we really want to fight terrorism, we can't do it alone.'
—Ziwei Hu, first-year PEIS (undeclared) major. Hometown: Davis, CA.

'The economy. My parents run a business, head hunting, that's very influenced by how well the economy is doing. When the job market is down, their business is down, and that means there's less money coming into our household.'
—Cameron Westcott, fourth-year political science major. Hometown: Dana Point, CA.
Cameron Westcott

Eryn Mack
'For me, it's health care and education. Insurance is expensive — being a college student and no longer on your parent's insurance is hard. And I don' think we're spending enough money on education. Education in the inner cities, like where I'm from in Los Angeles, is not up to par with other parts of the nation or even California. That makes it hard for inner-city students to compete with other students, which isn't fair.'
—Eryn Mack, second-year English major. Hometown: Los Angeles, CA.

'Do I have to pick one? I think there are three that are very important to me. The current tax policy makes me very uncomfortable. We have so much debt as a nation, and education funding won't be increasing anytime soon. We can't afford the tax cuts. Next, foreign policy. I was in Europe this summer and so many random people just came up to me on the street to tell me how much they loved America but hated Bush. Then there's the environment. Clinton did all this good stuff to protect it, and then Bush came along and just broke all these treaties.'
—Justin Barad, fourth-year bioengineering major. Hometown: Los Angeles, CA.
Justin Barad

Lillian Pedrosa
'I can't vote here, but I think that there should have been more domestic policy issues discussed in the debates, things like immigration and the health system. I think they should have talked more about how they planned to re-do the tax system and increase jobs.'
—Lillian Pedrosa, graduate student in social welfare and international studies. Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil.

'The distribution of resources in education is the most important issue to me, not that anyone's really talking about it. I'm coming from the working-class perspective. This election is a matter of choosing between the greater of two evils. The people who have all the economic power also have all the decision-making abilities — they're disconnected from the proletariat, and meanwhile, the working class is too busy working, trying to survive, to make their voices heard.'
—Luis Ochoa, fourth-year Chicano studies major, interdisciplinary studies minor. Hometown: Arlita, CA.
Luis Ochoa

Jennifer Sasaki
'I'm really not up on the whole politics thing, but I think the abortion issue is very important. I have very strong feelings against Bush about his views on abortion.'
—Jennifer Sasaki (right), second-year molecular and cell biology major. Hometown: Fremont, CA.

'Gay marriage. I don't think the government should be prescribing morality to its citizens. To me, that's a breach of fundamental rights.'
—Vaughn Villaverde, second-year political science major. Hometown: Long Beach, CA.


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