Napolitano tells students they can 'make a difference' in November
In a half-empty Gallagher Theatre, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano spent half an hour last night answering questions from students and discussing the importance of student voting.
Napolitano was invited to the UA by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. A featured guest in ASUA's civic engagement initiative, Napolitano was asked to discuss diversity and voting issues as part of the UAdiscusses Diversity event.
"Getting out the vote is the key," Napolitano said.
"It is not rocket science," she added. "Politicians respond to voters; for your voice to be heard, you must go out and vote."
To drive her point home about student involvement, Napolitano mentioned the controversy in Florida during the 2000 national election.
"We all know what happened in Florida," Napolitano said. "It was only a couple of hundred votes."
The official recount of the ballots in Florida caused such confusion that the U.S. Supreme Court eventually intervened and decided which of many recount methods was used to determine the outcome of the election.
Napolitano told the audience that recent elections in Arizona have been decided by an even closer margin.
According to Napolitano, a recent primary in Maricopa County between a "far-right" and a "moderate" Republican was overturned in a recent recount. The "far right" Republican initially won the primary election, but after a recount, the "moderate" was declared the winner.
"It was overturned by 13 votes," Napolitano said.
Napolitano emphasized the small margin by pointing to members of the audience seated in the front row and counting to 13.
"You can make a difference," Napolitano said.
Napolitano's remarks turned partisan when she began discussing the controversial Proposition 200.
Proposition 200, if enacted this fall, would require government workers to report any suspicions of undocumented immigrants seeking benefits.
"We need to have a dialogue on immigration," Napolitano said. "The dialogue on 200 is not the dialogue we need to have on illegal immigration."
Napolitano stated that the proposition would not solve the problem of illegal immigration, which she described as grave.
"We have a failed national immigration policy," Napolitano said. "Unless or until we get reasonable policy on illegal immigration, people will continue to die," Napolitano said.
Napolitano recently met with Mexican President Vicente Fox to address this issue.
During an impromptu question and answer session, Napolitano made a strong push for Proposition 102. The proposition would allow state universities to own shares of a company established by their research.
To highlight her point, Napolitano mentioned the rewards Stanford reaped when two graduate students gave the university shares of their company in exchange for aid in development. They started their business, a search engine named Google, during their time at Stanford.
Napolitano said that when Google went public, Stanford's stock was worth $250 million.
Napolitano said universities should share the profit when technology developed by students succeeds.
Napolitano was invited to the UA as part of ASUA's initiative to increase student voter registration. The goal of this initiative is to educate students about election issues, as well as to increase student turnout at the polls Nov. 2.
Napolitano was asked to discuss diversity as well, but only made a few short remarks on the topic.
Six weeks from the general election, she focused most of her prepared remarks on voting issues.
Filmmaker Michael Moore, Congressman Jim Kolbe and conservative author David Hardy will also be speaking at future ASUA Speakers Board events.