News release
Public Information Office  SLU 10880   Hammond, LA 70402   phone: 985-549-2341   fax: 985-549-2061 Spring 2004 news releases Public Information home News archive

Contact: Angey Saucier
Date: 1/22/04
      HAMMOND – Eight Southeastern Louisiana University students recently returned from a frigid four-day trip to Manchester, N.H., where they had the rare opportunity to interact and ask pointed policy questions of many of the top 2004 Democratic presidential candidates. 
       Held as part of New England College’s College Convention 2004, the students joined more than 1,000  politically informed and motivated college and high school students from across the nation in interacting with each of the major candidates, members of the media, and a wide variety of political interest groups. 
      “This was a conference for leaders, and in conjunction with the Louisiana Board of Regents, Southeastern was able to send some of our best leaders, the top officers from the Student Government Association,” said Jim McHodgkins, assistant dean of student development.
      Students who attended were SGA President Ashley McKee and Vice President Erica Leidinger of Covington; Supreme Court Chief Justice Brett Bova and Student Life Director Tracy Hunter of Hammond; Senate Chair Luke Causey and Vice Chair Percy Lacey of Baton Rouge; Business and Technology Senator Paul Donaldson of Folsom, and Attorney General Ryan McLin of Denham Springs.
      Participating Democratic presidential hopefuls were John Kerry, Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, Carolyn Mosley Braun, Tom Laughlin, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards, Wesley Clark and Lyndon LaRouche.
      The event provided open question-and-answer forums with each candidates in a traditional town-meeting setting, as well as breakout and plenary sessions on such topics as “Social Security: Will It Be There For You?” and “Invest In Your Democracy: Public Funds For Federal Elections.” Students also heard from former U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett, former president of National Organization for Women Patricia Ireland, and media mogul Ted Turner.
      When not meeting with Democratic presidential hopefuls or attending sessions, many Southeastern students were approached by fringe groups representing issues such as campaign finance changes; social security, homeland security, human rights, domestic violence, and legalization of drugs. 
      “Much of the national and local media took interest in many of our students and their experiences at the convention, including The Washington Post and the local ABC station,” said McHodgkins. “Our students learned a considerable amount about the election process. It was an eye-opening experience for all of us.”