Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 22:10
photo courtesy of www.state.co.us
Much is at stake this year for both the Republican and Democratic parties, as the election is less than a month away. Not only is the presidential race heating up, but Colorado delegates in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for re-election as well.
In Greeley’s district, Colorado-4, Senator Brandon Shaffer, the current President of the Colorado State Senate, will likely run in the closest race of the state.
Shaffer will speak tonight at the Institute of Professional Ethics at 5:30 p.m. in Spruce A & B of the University Center and discuss the importance of participating in engaged citizenship.
“At a moment in American history when political fundraising has reached unprecedented and shocking heights, it has never been more important for young people to become involved in the political process,” Shaffer said.
“We can’t let special interests dominate the political sphere. We need young people to be involved in discussions of economic policies, Social Security, Medicare and the direction of education policy.”
Shaffer intends to speak about the importance of being up to date on what sorts of change citizens can enact by being involved.
“Engaged citizenship is the ongoing activity of staying informed about the issues affecting our communities and doing something concrete to address them,” said Nancy Matchett, associate professor of philosophy and director of the Institute of Professional Ethics.
This includes simple tasks like voting, as well as much bigger commitments like serving in the military, sitting on volunteer citizen boards, running for and serving in political office or working with community service organizations to satisfy unmet social needs.
“Being an ‘engaged citizen’ doesn’t only include voting,” Shaffer said. “It encompasses an entire lifestyle that engages significant issues facing our country and being a part of long-term solutions. The people who truly influence the direction of our communities, and even our nation, do more than vote.”
Engaged citizenship is a very important issue for students to be aware of because they are a generation that holds considerable power in politics.
“We need more young people in that decision-making process,” Shaffer said. “On Monday evening at UNC, I hope to have a productive conversation about identifying common ground, finding solutions and getting involved in the decision-making process of our country.”
It’s important to point out that this is not an opportunity for Shaffer, who is currently running against the incumbent Cory Gardner for the U.S. House of Representatives, to discuss his political standing.
“Although Senator Shaffer is currently running for office, this is not a campaign event,” Matchett said. “We hope to attract an audience from across the political spectrum.”
The event will also feature a Q-and-A portion, providing the audience with an opportunity to address the state senator one-on-one.
“The Institute invited him to speak because we believe that he can help the audience think through the ethical responsibilities of all citizens in a democracy as well as the specific contributions they themselves can make,” Matchett said. “It is also an opportunity to talk openly about the benefits, and frustrations, of government participation at all levels.”
This event is open to all members of the UNC community as well as the general public.
“We hope this will help students bring their education to life by thinking more concretely about ways in which their daily choices and actions affect the wider communities of which they are a part,” Matchett said.