by FRANCES WOMBLE
Va. Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, will give a 30-minute speech at the University of Mary Washington on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Federal Communications Commission regulations on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Senior Will Spaulding, Legislative Action Committee (LAC) chairman, booked Cuccinelli for the event and said he was very excited when he learned that Cuccinelli would be able to make it.
“It’s important to note that this Saturday is Constitution Day,” he said. “It’s a big deal for a politician to come.”
He added that last year the LAC did voter registration, but this year wanted to do something more educational.
“It’s a great way to get the entire student body in a discussion about the Constitution and how it relates to current issues and rights,” Spaulding said.
Senior Erica Gouse, chairman of College Republicans, agrees.
“The Attorney General is the spokesperson of the Constitution,” she said.
Gouse also thinks the event is a great opportunity for students.
“The student body can learn a lot about the health care debate and why [Cuccinelli] is trying to appeal it. While we are a smaller school, we have a large impact on the area around us,” she said.
Spaulding feels the question-and-answer session after Cuccinelli’s speech will provide the UMW community with an opportunity to gain new insight on the health care law.
“I think a lot of people hear a lot about the health care mandate, but don’t understand what it means,” he said.
Last March, Cuccinelli sent a letter to Virginia state colleges and universities urging them to remove policies than ban discriminations based on sexual orientation, which garnered much criticism. Spaulding is aware of this letter but does not see it being problematic.
“I’m going to request that the audience keep their question on topic,” he said, referring to health care and FCC regulations. “I don’t foresee any problems though.”
Senior Evan McLaughlin, a member of the grassroots-organizing group Virginia Organizing, is putting together a protest for the event in addition to planning on asking tough questions of Cuccinelli.
“We just want to show him that not everyone supports what he’s trying to do,” McLaughlin said.
Senior Brendan Oudekerk, president of UMW’s Young Democrats is also planning on addressing Cuccinelli’s letter. He said he would be joining some of his fellow Young Democrats in attending the event because of the opportunity to ask Cuccinelli questions.
“Our big issue is his letter,” Oudekerk said. “We oppose his political ideals, and his letter was completely inappropriate and unnecessary. We want to know why he targeted the LGBT community. We do not think he is right for Virginia.”