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Illinois State U. Student Soldiers Discuss Key Issues Affecting Their Vote

This story was written by Tim Crisp, The Daily Vidette

As we near election time, every one of us is faced with making a choice that could dictate what life will be like for the next four years.

Everyone has an issue that he or she holds dear, one factor that makes all the difference when the time comes to enter the polls.

The same rings true for members of Illinois State University's ROTC. However, given the nature of the issues surrounding this election, that feeling is multiplied.

With the United States involved in two military conflicts overseas, and tensions mounting in countries like Iran and Pakistan, foreign policy is a dominant issue for ROTC members.

Many cadets express a level of concern with the possibilities for the future of these conflicts and the state of our national security.

Over the past few months, the country's economic situation has quickly become the key for voters, and the sentiments of ROTC members also reflected this shift.

While the economy has come to be a factor for these cadets, foreign policy still stands as their key issue for this election.

"The most important issue for me personally, is foreign policy," Benjamin Townsend, a senior university studies major, said. "The actions both candidates are going to take overseas with the current situation in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan are most important to me."

Townsend also expresses concern over the weakening economy.

"The situation just keeps getting worse," Townsend said.

Townsend did not want to endorse a specific candidate, but said, "I think both of the presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat, are doing a great job."

Shawn Robertson, a senior criminal justice major, said his biggest concerns were the economy and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"I did attend a Barack Obama speech two years ago in Joliet and I connected with a lot of the things he had to say," Robertson said.

Robertson has found himself favoring Obama.

"I think he [Obama] is concerned with the issues that matter most, so I'm leaning toward him."

Randy Spanton, a senior criminal justice major, said that the economy and foreign policy were also the most prevalent in his voting decision.

A supporter of John McCain, Spanton referred to the Republican nominee as one "who wants to succeed in Iraq."

"You can't just pull out of the war," Spanton said. "We need a president who's focused on our national security."

Patrick Kilcoyne, a sophomore geography major, said he is most concerned with military spending and the plans for the conflicts overseas.

Also a supporter of John McCain, Kilcoyne feels that as president, McCain would "take better care of our troops overseas."

"I think that since McCain is a veteran, he understands what needs to be done for the soldiers fighting for us," Kilcoyne said.

Kevin Clausius, a freshman history major, is also concerned about military spending.

"I'm for McCain because he was a veteran, so he knows what's going on [in Iraq and Afghanistan]," Clausius said.

With tensions mounting in Iran and Pakistan, Clausius felt McCain was the better choice for keeping the country safe.

"He's been in politics a lot longer than Obama. He has more national experience," Clausius said.

It is important to note that these are the opinions of individual cadets.

These are not expressions that reflect the views of the ROTC as an entity.

While the concerns of these individuals have their similarities, each cadet's views reflect a deep passin for our country and for the possibilities of life after Election Day.

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