Party Chairmen Visit Cornhusker Boys’ State
Chairman Vic Covalt and Chairman Mark Fahleson
On Monday morning, Chairman Vic Covalt of the Nebraska Democratic Party and Chairman Mark Fahleson of the Nebraska Republican Party visited the delegation of Cornhusker Boys’ State to discuss their respective party platforms and positions on current political issues. These issues will be among those debated by the delegates later this evening and tomorrow morning when delegates attend their own party meetings to create and amend official platforms.
In their opening statements, both gentlemen presented their party’s philosophical groundwork in simple statements:
Covalt (D): “Government is not there to do it for you, but rather to help you do it yourself.”
Fahleson (R): “Every time the government steps in, you give up part of your freedom.”
Belleau Wood Mayor Charles Bogatz inquires about same-sex partnerships
The first question asked of the chairmen was about their respective positions on same-sex partnerships.
Fahleson (R): Traditionally marriage has been defined by being between one man and woman. The Republican Party does not support gay marriage. We do, however, support the decision of businesses and corporations to provide benefits to same-sex partners if they so choose, so as not to limit the freedom of these entities.
Covalt (D): Why shouldn’t you be free to love who you love? We should not be able to create artificial barricades between same-sex partners. This type of discrimination is very similar to the racial discrimination of our past, and we feel that no citizens should have to “ride at the back of the bus.”
Further into the session, one delegate highlighted the problem of obesity and obesity-related deaths. He then asked how each chairman felt about taxing sugary drinks and fast food items.
Covalt (D): While we have a lot of great ideas like this, the details would be tricky to manage and enforce. Likewise, would citizens consider this tax to be fair? This would be something to consider in the long-term, but for now we have other issues to focus on.
Fahleson (R): The more that government is involved with our lives, the more they are able to restrict what we can and cannot eat or do. It’s none of the government’s business as to whether or not I want a sugary soda. If we continue down this path, menus will become more and more restricted because it could increase health costs, which a government healthcare system wouldn’t want to pay for.
Towards the end of the discussion, one delegate asked the chairmen about their positions on the Citizens United Act regarding campaign contributions.
Fahleson (R): You can put as many restrictions on money going in and out of campaigns, but it just isn’t going to stop the flow of money. Creative people will always find ways to keep it moving. Corporations are made up of people and should therefore have the same rights and responsibilities. Along these lines, however, there needs to be some accessible place for people to be able to view campaign transactions so they know where all of the money is coming from.
Covalt (D): Corporations are not people; you are people. You have the right to vote, not corporations. You should not be forced to make contributions to any candidates to further your manager’s political business and/or aspirations. I feel that this is unconstitutional and needs to be reversed.
The chairmen weighed in on many other issues during Monday’s session, including gridlock in Congress, the national debt, the importance of local versus federal government, foreign policy and the Middle East, religious freedom, the role of the Constitution in politics, and government healthcare. Despite their differences in opinion on many of these issues, there was one thing that both chairmen easily agreed upon: the importance of joining a political party. They noted that turnout at the polls for independent voters is considerably lower than for those registered with a political party.
Cornhusker Boys’ State was delighted to welcome back Cornhusker Boys’ State alumnus and counselor Mark Fahleson in this session with Chairman Covalt.
Chairman Vic Covalt addresses delegates