by NATE KEZER
A Pima Community College student spoke with Republican presidential candidate Brooks Cullison in Chicago about issues facing young people, particularly college students.
John Dalton was part of a panel of six students from across the country that were brought together by the candidate.
The group and the presidential hopeful discussed a range of issues from overpriced college tuition, social security and the national debt.
College tuition was one of the most notable topics pertaining to the panelists and other young millennials.
“Tuition is obviously out of control pretty much anywhere in the United States,” Dalton said. “I’m not necessarily saying we should have free college because there would be financial repercussions for the country if we’re just going to give out free school.”
Along the topic of college costs, the issue of over-priced tuition and college textbooks were discussed.
Dalton said it’s important to start the conversation.
Dalton served as Human Relations Commissioner in Livonia, Mich. Appointed at the age of 21, Dalton served a three-year term that concluded in 2015.
The Human Relations Commission deals with issues in areas of civil rights enforcement, as well as works to put an end to human trafficking.
After finishing his term, Dalton decided to go back to college instead of trying for another term.
He was born in Tucson. He is half-Mexican from his mother’s side, and British and German from his father’s side. He’s also fluent in both English and Spanish.
The panel and the presidential candidate also discussed the issue of Social Security and whether or not it should be privatized, or should simply reform the public version that we currently have.
Dalton said that Cullison, unlike many other presidential candidates, was rather specific with his plans and ideas.
“When he responded, he gave a quick synopsis as to what he thought might be the solutions, but he’s also someone who likes to really delve deep into the issue,” Dalton said.
He noted that even though it was a panel, the whole encounter was conversational and “relaxed,” as opposed to a strict and formal discussion.
On top of being the former mayor of Olney, Illinois, Cullison is also an attorney and has a significant amount of knowledge on foreign policy issues, as well as speaking Spanish.
“These issues are constantly talked about in the race for president, but few candidates take the time to actually speak with our younger voters to see what they truly care about,” Cullison said.
Dalton said that he liked the candidate, even though the panel didn’t endorse anyone.
“I think that it’s great for a candidate to take the amount of time that he took out of his day, which was really busy,” Dalton said.
“I definitely like him. He’s qualified. He understands the issues. Because you see some candidates that no one’s ever heard of, if you ask them something, they have no idea what’s going on.”
Dalton said it would be possible for him to support this underdog candidate. He explained in previous election cycles, people of lower popularity would have had an easier time making it to the debates than they would in this election cycle, mainly because there were fewer people then than there are now running for office.
The students who were on the panel have also spoken to many other presidential candidates in the past, including Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry and others.
“We have so many candidates with different ideas, backgrounds and personalities,” said Lucas Hawley, a student at Trinity Christian College in Illinois, who was also part of the panel.
“To really narrow this field down to who you like, you really have to talk directly to the candidates and ask questions.”
Hawley also liked Cullison, saying that he is very experienced and a very nice person to meet.
Hawley originally met Dalton on Facebook, and they became good friends. Dalton invited Hawley to be one of the panelists when he visited Detroit.