UWL College Democrats Chair discusses the lack of opposition


Image retrieved from uwlmyorgs.campuslabs.com.

Easton Moberg, Student Government Reporter

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse College Democrats, according to their MyOrgs, is an “organization committed to educating students, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for good governance and Democratic principles.” The UWL College Democrats welcome anyone who identifies as left-leaning or is interested in politics to come together and build a sense of community. Currently, the UWL College Democrats are planning for the Wisconsin Supreme Court election where they are supporting Janet Protasiewicz to get elected.

The Racquet Press sat down with Jake Williams to discuss the UWL College Democrats organization and what they stand for.

Third-year UWL student, Jake Williams, is the elected chair of the UWL College Democrats. He was a member of the Student Association (SA) for his first two years and in addition to being the elected chair of UWL Democrats, he served on the State Board as a development director which helps develop programs and resources for different chapters around the state. Williams also recently took on the role of Midwest director for College Democrats of America.

What issues interested you in joining the UWL College Democrats?

“The big one is abortion; thankfully my sisters live in Minnesota. I could not imagine them being second-class citizens in Wisconsin. The other one is fair maps, it is kind of crazy that for a state that voted in Tony Evers, Sarah Rodriguez, Josh Kaul, and Joe Biden, the Republicans still have a supermajority in both houses. We are one seat away from the Republicans being able to go around the Governor’s veto.” Jake continued “If we can elect Janet Protasiewicz, we can write new, fair, and balanced maps that will actually represent the will of the people.”

What were your reactions to the free speech survey results?

“I do not have too much of an opinion, but I do think that it will be used against the UW system, unfortunately. I think that a lot of data can be skewed and biased. I think that a lot of students do not want to say their beliefs in the classroom, not because they are afraid of a tyrant level of oppression, but rather because they do not care.” Jake continued, “I do not want to go on a rant about the election in general education class because where is that going to get me?”

How do you think the State Supreme Court primaries went?

“Incredible. Our treasurer said that 79 people voted in the last State Supreme Court election. I want to double that, and we saw across the state a tripling of that number, so 300% over the last election. So in terms of Gen Z youth turnout, it is incredible. We are definitely standing up and saying that we have a role in this election, so I am really excited to see the general.”

 What contributed to the increase in participation?

“The hard work of all the organizations on campus. The Dems cannot take all the credit. There are four to five different organizations working on voter turnout. Jake explained, “I think that it really is a generational thing. We are seeing that previous generations have dropped the ball on a lot of things, and we can do better.”

What did the UWL College of Democrats do for the primaries?

“We did general voter education and tried to get material in the hands of our members. As an affiliate of the Wisconsin Democrats, we were unable to choose a side between Janet and Everett so we had to promote both. We did some tabling and we did some social media activities to try to get the word out. Now that we are behind a single candidate, we are going to do a lot more tabling, a lot more social media, and a lot more outreach.”

How do you feel about there not being an active UWL College Republicans organization?

“I will say that it is unfortunate. I think that every person deserves to have a club on campus. I think that there should be more political clubs. It should not just be the Dems and Republicans fighting because that does not help anyone. There should also be a Green Party, Libertarian Party, or even a Forward Party. There needs to be a wider spectrum of beliefs and ideas rather than World War One fighting over chalk. That does not actually help anyone. I will say that when the event happened, I do have a lot of respect for the Chair for taking ownership and calling out members within her own organization. What we did notice is that whoever took over after her, has taken steps to rescind the apology and double down on their stance. I do not think that really helps them, the UWL community, or really anyone.”

Is there anything that you want to promote?

“Vote Tuesday, April 4, we really need to get Janet Protasiewicz into office. If not for the reasons that I previously mentioned, but just for the fact that Dan Kelly is horrific in terms of a political figure. Just looking at his record of being backed by billionaires. He will claim that he is non-partisan but even on his website, he is a conservative judge. He will be a political activist on the Court. He has come out against abortion, gay marriage, and fair maps. Vote for reason.”

If interested in joining Williams and the rest of the UWL College Democrats organization, click to join here. The UWL College Democrats meet weekly on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. in Centennial Hall in room 1401.