Politicians hold Upper Valley events
The College may be situated in the quaint town of Hanover, but with the New Hampshire primary being the first-in-the-nation primary, the College has been at the center of the 2016 election as candidates flock to campus and nearby provinces to attract voters.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was one of the many presidential candidates to visit campus this past year. His visit, organized by the College Democrats, took place on June 1, 2015 in Carson Hall.
He spoke with students, faculty and community members about regulating Wall Street, gay marriage, immigration reform and his experience as governor and Baltimore mayor. The question-and-answer session that preceded his 30-minute speech pressed him on issues like police brutality as well as Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.
Former New York Gov. George Pataki was the first presidential candidate to speak at the College as part of the “America’s Economic Future” lecture series, co-sponsored by the Tuck School of Business and the Rockefeller Center. After meeting with students in the Rockefeller Center, Pataki spoke to a small crowd in the Georgiopoulos Classroom at the Tuck School of Business on Oct. 6, 2015.
He lectured for 20 minutes on America’s corporate regulatory system and climate change, and he proposed decreasing the size of government, reducing the amount of tax codes people have as a means of improving America’s economic success. The event closed with Pataki responding to questions about funding scientific endeavors, the cost of higher education and the concern of global refugees.
Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited Hanover on July 3, 2015 and spoke to a crowd of 850 at the BEMA amphitheater. Clinton’s campaign provided hamburgers for members of the audience, which included Dartmouth students and Hanover locals alike.
Clinton discussed her record in Washington, her plans to strengthen the American economy and implicitly mentioned that she had superior experience to her then-rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Sen. Lindsey Graham was the second lecturer for the “America’s Economic Future” lecture series. On Nov. 5, 2015, he spoke at the Top of the Hop about his military and public service careers, as well as his views on foreign policy and America’s economy.
Graham responded to questions about the Israel-Palestinian two-state solution, but eluded questions relating to immigration reform. Government professor and electoral politics expert Dean Lacy, who attended this event, said that Graham needed to stand out more among Republicans, a sentiment shared by several attendees who were interviewed.
Jeb Bush made a stop in the Granite State on Oct. 13. The former Florida governor spoke to a full room of Upper Valley community members as well as 40 to 50 Dartmouth students at the Grafton County Senior Citizens Council in Lebanon, a 15-minute drive from campus.
Bush spoke about international affairs, his economic record in Florida and Donald Trump’s remarks about Syrian refugees. Among Bush’s proposals were lobbying reform, reducing non-working public officials’ pay and abolishing the Affordable Care Act. After 30 minutes, Bush responded to questions on climate change, health care and veteran’s affairs, small businesses and his public image.
Michelle Knesbach ’17 and Jeremy Lewin ’19 — members of the Dartmouth College Republicans — noted in interviews after the event that the smaller setting helped Bush. The size of the venue made Bush appear more genuine, Lewin said.
Bush returned to the Upper Valleuy on Feb. 3 for a town hall meeting at the Hanover Inn. Around 150 people attended the event, in which Bush discussed creating jobs as governor of Florida and how he vetoed 2,500 line items in government budgets. The visit made national news as Bush asked the audience to “please clap” at one point during the event.
Over 1,000 Upper Valley residents and Dartmouth students gathered at Lebanon High School — a 10-minute drive from campus — for a two-hour speech given by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders discussed income inequality, institutional racism, campaign finance reform and numerous social issues.
Sanders was introduced by several local speakers, including Dartmouth Students and Staff for Bernie co-founder Felicia Teter ’13. Sanders spoke with Teter about police brutality and audience members on a range of topics.
Several who attended expressed support for Sander’s positions but were unsure if they would vote for him, including Lebanon resident Lindsay Dearborn. People like Andrew Weckstein ’18, however, largely agreed that Sanders would be good for the election because of the critical issues he brought to the table.
Clinton visited the College again as the last lecturer of the “America’s Economic Future” lecture series. She spoke to a room of over 1000 members of the Dartmouth and Upper Valley communities on Nov. 11, 2015.
Several college-affiliated and local political figures were present, including Rockefeller Center director Andrew Samwick, Dean of the Tuck School of Business Matthew Slaughter, New Hampshire state Sen. David Pierce and former New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch.
Clinton discussed her economic policy and then answered a series of questions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and women’s rights. Audience members interviewed by The Dartmouth expressed satisfaction with her speech.
Kentucky senator Rand Paul visited Salt Hill Pub in Hanover on Jan. 19 to speak to a crowd of 125 students and Upper Valley residents.
Paul gave his opinion on the United States’ policy in the Middle East and his proposed limited intervention before lecturing about the national debt and his fellow candidates. He then received questions about college debt and student loans, for which he proposed increasing competition among schools and utilizing online courses.
These past visits are a testament to Hanover’s significance for presidential candidates. New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status gives Dartmouth students a unique opportunity to hear directly from candidates.
“In most other states, campaigns are conducted through the media,” former New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Business and Government said. “But here, candidates really do engage in retail politics where they’re able to talk directly with voters.”