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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette College Republicans volunteer at GOP debate
Photo by Maryam Tunio
Photo by Maryam Tunio/[email protected]

The Republican presidential debate on Nov. 10 at the Milwaukee Theater was an opportunity for members of Marquette College Republicans to volunteer, network and support their favorite candidates.

30 of the group’s 60 members signed up to volunteer during the debate and six to eight were selected due to a limited number of spots.

Grant Kros, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, was one of the selected members. He said he was determined to be at the debate even if that meant standing at the door to check tickets.

Volunteers were trained the night before the event to learn about duties from working in the media room to checking credentials. Kros said he was assigned to be a floater, meaning he fulfilled any task necessary to make the debate run smoothly.

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After he helped at the VIP entrance so people could go through security faster, he filled seats with the attendees.

“This debate was a lot better than the last one,” Kros said. “The questions were a lot more about policies and specific issues.”

For the second part of the debate, Kros was allowed to sit in the front of the theater and interact with other politicians, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

“I got a lot more all-access,” Kros said. “I think it’s just a really cool experience to give back and help out for something really passionate.”

Catherine Strietmann, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration and vice chair of College Republicans, said there was a debate viewing party for those who couldn’t get tickets to see it live.

“We actually opened it up to the Milwaukee community,” Strietmann said. “We think that providing a space where we welcome … everyone who is interested and willing to learn from the conversation is beneficial.”

Strietmann said there was a post-party discussion to process the debate topics.

The group’s members also had opportunities to meet with Jeb Bush Jr., son of Republican Candidate Jeb Bush, and Republican Candidate Carly Fiorina this week.

“Having the candidates in Milwaukee, we wanted our members to have the most interaction with them as possible so that they can choose for themselves who to support,” Strietmann said.

Marquette College Republicans and Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans sponsored an on-campus talk from Jeb Bush Jr. the afternoon before the debate.

“It’s very exciting to have somebody who is on the campaign trail … and be able to hear about what’s happening on the campaign to get a political perspective from somebody who is young,” said Adam Kouhel, the political director of the WFCR and a sophomore in the College of Business Administration.

During the morning after the debate, 20 Marquette College Republicans attended a meet-and-greet breakfast with Carly Fiorina because of outreach from the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth organization.

“We have a lot of members in our club who are in business so I think they can learn a lot from her,” Strietmann said about Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

Strietmann said she was amazed to see the enthusiasm from students who wanted to volunteer and go to the viewing parties.

“I think that is showing how much people really do care about this coming election in 2016, especially the younger generation, because (they’re) realizing the value of (their) vote,” she said.

Other Marquette students were involved with the debate by way of protesting it outside the theater while it occurred.

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