Republican candidate answers students’ questions

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September 22, 2009

2:43 AM

The Students for a Better Williamsburg political action committee and the College Republicans co-hosted a question-and-answer session with Virginia attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli (R-37th) at the Sadler Center Sunday.

A Virginia state senator from Fairfax and small-business owner, Cuccinelli is running against Democrat Steve Shannon.

After giving an introductory speech, Cuccinelli faced questions from students on varous topics from criminal
justice and economic policies to abortion and same-sex marriage.

Cuccinelli made it clear throughout the session that he was heavily involved with the criminal justice system as a state senator. He claimed to have helped pass stricter DUI restrictions, reform care for mental patients and cut down on gang violence.

He also discussed his opposition to government economic regulation of businesses.

During the question-and-answer session, one student asked Cuccinelli about alternatives to the federal cap-and-trade policy, which was recently adopted in an effort to control pollution.

“The planet has actually been cooling down over the past ten years,” Cuccinelli said, reaffirming his belief that global warming is not supported by conclusive scientific fact.

Cuccinelli also said he was pro-life and that he believed that marriage should be between a man and a
woman.

After the session had ended, the 75 or so audience members had mixed reactions about Cuccinelli’s talk.

“Cuccinelli seems like he genuinely cares about the people of Virginia and the issues they face,” Nabil Siddiqi ’12 said. “Even though he may hold some archaic religious views, I felt like he did a good job answering questions.”

SBW Communications Director Kirstie Brenson ’12 said the PAC helped organize this to further educate students on Virginia’s political process.

“[Students for a Better Williamsburg] wanted someone to come who would potentially have an influence on students’ lives,” she said.

Outside, some female students were not as thrilled with Cuccinelli’s views.

“[We are] informing people how Cuccinelli denies a woman’s right to choose,” Annie Brown ’10, one of those students, said. They were not affiliated with any group on campus.

Originally intended to be a debate between the two Attorney General candidates, the event became a question-and-answer session after Shannon declined the invitation.

According to the College Republicans Chairman Thomas Chappell, Cuccinelli immediately accepted the invitation. Chappell has worked with Cuccinelli in the past by campaigning and working for the senator in the Virginia General Assembly.

According to Chappell, his and the College Republicans’ attempts to book Steve Shannon were not successful. After forming a Facebook group and sending over 300 e-mails to Shannon, they succeeded in flooding his inbox and crashing his server, but not much else.

“He finally called back, and said he would not like to participate in the debate,” Chappell said.

Both Students for a Better Williamsburg and the College Republicans believed the event to be a success.

“There were good, tough questions that really allowed Cuccinelli to show where he stands on major issues,” Chappell said.

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