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IA College Students Learn About 2020 Election Up Close

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is among several presidential hopefuls to take part in candidate forums co-hosted by Des Moines Area Community College. (DMACC)
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is among several presidential hopefuls to take part in candidate forums co-hosted by Des Moines Area Community College. (DMACC)
January 15, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa - Democratic presidential hopefuls have been crisscrossing Iowa in hopes of claiming victory in the upcoming caucuses. Some of their audience includes community college students learning more about nominations.

Des Moines Area Community College has co-hosted forums with several Democratic presidential candidates. Some of those students who've attended are in the political-science class taught by Professor Paul Byrd.

He says education and health care are some of the common issues his students are curious about. But he thinks the fact that so many candidates still are in the race makes it an interesting topic for them as well.

"We've talked, kind of logistically, how that will impact going forward which ones will go and which ones won't make viability," says Byrd. "And how it will affect the votes here in Iowa versus the later primaries coming up."

Byrd says he's trying to make sure that students who plan to take part in the caucuses don't feel pressure to make up their minds before attending. He stresses that they're getting an up-close look at an important and influential part of democracy that Iowa is lucky to have every four years.

Byrd says in his class, the topic of fixing big problems that younger generations will have to deal with has become a divisive issue.

"A segment of the student population has been very motivated to fix those problems, taking the challenge head on," says Byrd. "And then another segment of the population is almost apathetic about the process because while there are so many problems, [they might think] 'What can we do and why even start?'"

Byrd adds that while students don't always ask about foreign policy, he says he has fielded more questions on that topic in light of U.S. tensions with Iran. The school will be hosting another candidate forum this Saturday with candidate Pete Buttigieg.

Disclosure: Des Moines Area Community College contributes to our fund for reporting. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - IA