Hillary Clinton held a rally in Columbus earlier in February full of high energy and excitement; this time around she chose to have a more personal discussion with voters. The presidential hopeful invited four Ohio citizens she met along the campaign trail to facilitate a discussion of how she plans to fix the nation's dwindling economy.
"These people represent the stories of Ohio," Clinton said. "The challenges we face, but also the opportunities we would have if we had a president who cared about Ohio."
Clinton spoke Friday at Columbus State Community College in a town hall forum titled "Solutions for the American Economy." Close to 350 voters filed into the Center for Workforce Development ballroom to listen to Clinton's guests share their stories of sustainable energy, the Iraq war and health care. Audience members asked Clinton their own questions about health care, home foreclosures and the public school system.
Sustainable energy was a big topic for two of the guest speakers. Jason White, 29, told the audience about how his education in construction management from Columbus State gave him the chance to work with a company on rebuilding schools with energy efficient materials.
"We're going green in the new millennia," White said. "Over 50 percent of a school is recycled when we rebuild them."
Tom Robbins, a faculty member at Columbus State, shared information about the school's new Program of Sustainable Design. The program has been running for two years and is comprised of students studying architecture, manufacturing and construction management.
"We are trying to educate people into an awareness of sustainable energies," Robbins said.
Ohio State students who attended the forum said they were all very impressed with Clinton's performance.
"Her connection was great in the small setting," said Chris Skovron, a freshman in political science. "I wasn't convinced about her until her rally at OSU. I saw the humanity in her."
As the March 4 Ohio primary approaches, students are taking clear stances on who they support for the Democratic nomination. Some students who came to the discussion said they would have a hard time even thinking about voting for Barack Obama if he wins the nomination.
"I would have to consider it," said Richard Crouse, a sophomore in French. "I don't trust him like I trust her."
David Cross, a sophomore in political science, said it is not an easy choice. "I will support Obama if he is the nominee, but he is not as qualified as Hillary. We need someone qualified."
Students at the forum named health care and the Iraq War as the issues of most importance to them.
© 2008 The Lantern via U-WIRE