Syracuse N.Y. (NCC News) — You could hear a pin drop at Grant Auditorium. Dana Balter, Syracuse’s Democratic congressional nominee, had just finished eviscerating President Donald Trump’s foreign policy. But the audience members, regardless of allegiances, did not cheer. They awaited the next question, and the process repeated itself.
The SU College Democrats Association invited Balter to the forum at Syracuse University last night. Civil discourse was an early theme.
“Conversations like we had tonight are what our politics should be,” Balter said. “Politics is really about the community coming together to solve our problems. The more we can have conversations like this the better we are.”
Balter only mentioned her opponent once, and never called out John Katko, her Republican opponent, by name. The crowd responded with neutral questions and tame reactions. One of the few times the audience responded to Balter was when she hit on environmental topics.
“We’re on a college campus, can we hear it for science?” Balter said, drawing hoots and applause.
Andreas Victoria, president of the SU College Democrats, said the main goal of the event was to drive discussion on campus prior to the midterm election.
“Whether you agree or disagree with Dana, I just want students to be aware of the issues,” Victoria said.
The SU College Democrats partnered with Balter’s campaign in voter registration efforts and registered over 800 students, according to Victoria.
“There’s always the stereotype that college kids don’t vote, young kids don’t care,” Victoria said. “I think it’s changing.”
Balter and Victoria both agreed President Trump’s administration is causing higher levels of civic involvement. Balter claims it’s the highest engagement since the 1960s in the United States.
Balter and her team said they had a long night of debate prep ahead of them. Tuesday’s forum previewed where Balter stands on some major issues.
- She wants the federal tax law repealed
- She considers the number one most important issue getting the money out of politics
- She thinks environmental initiatives can be a boon for the CNY economy
- She is highly concerned about the current state of the Supreme Court