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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

State representative speaks with Marquette Democrats
Photo by Ryan McCarthy/ [email protected]

State Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) stressed that the votes of Marquette students have been diminished by the current election system during a special guest visit with Marquette College Democrats Tuesday night.

“Marquette has functionally been eliminated from any meaningful state representation other than the executive branch,” he said.

Goyke, a Marquette Law School graduate who is running unopposed for his second term on Nov. 4, estimated that the two districts covering Marquette’s campus are 85 percent Democrat. As a result, the races are ultimately decided in the primary races, which take place in August before students get to campus.

For that reason, Goyke focused his visit, which received low turnout, on strategies to spread the party’s influence across Wisconsin.

“It has been a real challenge for Democrats to have a message that relates to the core and the base here in the city and also resonates with the guy who is farming 4,000 acres,” he said.

For Goyke, the main obstacle in reaching these voters is that Wisconsin Democrats no longer have a shared vision. He sees multiple groups that fundamentally agree but are not united.

“We’re not really guiding voters with a vision,” he said. “If I have one drive as a Democrat, it is to eliminate poverty.”

He also shared experiences from his first term in office, particularly around his frustration of being in the minority of a state dominated by conservative legislators.

“I wrote 27 bills,” Goyke said. “I passed zero-largely because I have the wrong letter at the end of my last name. Maybe they care about foreclosed homes; maybe they don’t. Maybe they care about criminal justice reform; maybe they don’t. But because I’m on the other side it doesn’t go anywhere.”

As a result, Goyke said he spent more of his time responding to legislation from the Republicans.

“I know my bills won’t get passed,” he said. “But I don’t act like it. So I also wrote the most amendments of any legislator this year.”

Last year Goyke, joined by 11 Republicans and two Democrats, helped pass an amendment to a bill that aims to reduce the number of women and children subjected to strip searches. He said these two groups are disproportionately victims of sexual assault by law enforcement.

“Rep. Goyke articulated the need for a continued effort to drive the Democrat’s message for Wisconsinites,” said Aliya Manjee, chair of the College Democrats and a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences.

While Goyke was critical of the majority party in Wisconsin, Samantha Connor, chair of Marquette College Republicans and a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, argued that the Republican-led legislature drove private sector job growth.

“With the state legislators from Marquette’s districts working to take the state backward, we are grateful that Gov. Walker is moving the state forward through the executive branch,” Connor said.

He defeated seven opponents in the primary for his district in 2011, winning his party’s candidacy with 37 percent of the vote. Goyke soundly defeated Libertarian candidate Melba Morris-Page in the following November election with 88 percent of the vote.

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