Politics

New Jersey Senators Booker and Menendez Speak at Wilson Hall Auditorium

NJ Senators Wilson Hall 1The Political Science Club hosted Senators of New Jersey, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, on campus to speak about the midterm elections and the importance of voting at an event on Monday, Oct. 29.

The hour-long event was held in the Wilson Hall Auditorium, and was open to all those on campus who were interested in attending. 

“Our students did a terrific job this campaign season in raising awareness on campus and in organizing get out the vote events,” said Joseph Patten, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science and the adviser to the Political Science Club. “Landon Myers (a senior political science student and President of the Political Science Club) and the students in the Political Science Club did a fantastic job in organizing the event with NJ Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez and U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone.”

He continued and said, “Mike Manning (a senior political science student and President of the College Republicans) and the College Republicans did a terrific job in organizing an event with the Senate Republican challenger Bob Hugin two weeks back. For me the best thing is that political science students from both parties helped each other organize their events. We need that type of cooperative spirit in government.” 

Paul Dement, Director of Government and Community Relations for the University, explained that he sent an invitation to the Menendez campaign to come to the University after it was announced that his opponent in the Senatorial race, Bob Hugin, was scheduled to be on campus meeting with students a couple of weeks ago. “Monmouth University does not endorse any candidate but does provide equal opportunity for candidates to engage with students on campus,” he said.

“When the Menendez campaign contacted me last weekend to say they were interested in coming to Monmouth with Senator Booker, I put them in touch with Monmouth student Landon Myers to organize the logistics. I just think it’s terrific that the students were able to hear from both the Republican and Democratic candidates for a United States Senate seat,” said Dement. 

NJ Senators Wilson Hall 2Numerous students and members of the University attended the event on Monday. “Wilson Auditorium was completely full, we even opened up the curtains on the stage so students could sit back there,” said Myers of the turnout. “The event with both Senator Booker and Senator Menendez could not have gone better.”

“The atmosphere of the event was amazing and so many people were so excited to see the Senators speak,” he continued. Myers also noted that with Congressman Pallone also present and speaking at the event, “all three of Monmouth’s federal representatives were all together in one room,” a historic incident for the University. 

Booker spoke about criminal justice reform, economic inequality, and the opioid addition epidemic, among other issues affecting the United States. He also took the opportunity to campaign for Menendez and told the crowd, “I am going to support Bob Menendez not just because I like him or because he’s my friend. But because I want someone who is going to go to washing every single day to fight to raise the minimum wage, fight for pre-existing conditions, fight for prenatal care and universal preschool. To fight for the people who are still struggling for their American dream in this country.”

In a recent poll by the University’s Polling Institute, Menendez holds a lead of between nine and 12 points. Patrick Murray, Director of the Institute, explained that Menendez’s lead is largely due to the state’s disapproval of President Donald Trump, who has 55 percent disapproval rate, according to the report.

“If these poll results hold, the first person Bob Menendez should thank in his election night victory speech is Donald Trump,” Murray says in the published poll. 

Both Menendez and Booker spoke of the president in their speeches, disapproving of much of his administration’s actions, such as cutting government safety net programs, separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, and his character. 

“This is what this election is about: creating a check and balance on this administration and everything that we care about,” Menendez said in his address. “This election is about you and your future. What it looks like economically, in healthcare, in educational opportunities. In what world you will live in; that’s what this election is about.”

Regardless of their personal political ideology, Myers said that it is important for everyone to go vote next Tuesday, Nov. 6. “It was important to have this event as Election Day is only a week away, and I think having both Senators on campus really helped engage students and will hopefully make them more likely to vote,” he said.