Cornell received a visit from Republican candidate Mark Everson on Oct. 20., marking the second visit from a presidential candidate that the campus has seen this year.
Everson’s job experience ranges in type from business to federal. He was the IRS Commissioner for four years during George W. Bush’s presidency. He has also held positions with companies in France, Zambia and Turkey.
Everson announced his candidacy last spring, but has not been a front runner for the Republican nomination. Everson claims, however, that he’s willing to have the conversations that other politicians shy away from.
Everson addressed a small group of Cornell students, faculty and staff in Hedges classroom on the day of his visit. He started with a discussion of voter apathy, emphasizing the need for young people to be more engaged.
Afterwards, Everson identified six main topics that he would focus on if elected President of the United States.
“I’ve got six big issues,” Everson said, “I don’t believe anyone would agree with me on all six issues down the line.”
Everson is in favor of bold tax reform, cracking down on big banks and Wall Street, instituting compulsory national service with a military component, reigning in spending on entitlement programs, tightening immigration laws and borders and removing re-election politics from presidential decision-making.
In discussing these issues, Everson made it clear that he is disapproving of current presidential conduct, citing a concern about the steady increase of power under the executive branch and ultimately claiming that if elected, he would only serve one term so as not to shirk his presidential duties for the sake of four more years in the White House.
Following Everson’s speech, the floor opened up to questions from the audience. These ranged in topic from foreign policy and nuclear disarmament, to issues of women’s rights and healthcare.
When it came to topics involving equal pay for women and gun laws, Everson maintained that he would not support legislation in these areas. He called instead for “taking a whole fresh look at mental health” in terms of gun rights, and for state governments to act in the case of women’s rights.
Many questions, however, came back to the most controversial of Everson’s positions: national service.
“Right now, it’s no big deal. People we don’t know go overseas and take care of our problems for us. Too few of us are participating in that sacrifice,” said Everson. Everson explained that bringing back the draft would prevent the rich and powerful from avoiding service to their country.
“I would have a percentage of the army and navy reserved to conscripts, draftees if you will… There’s this civilian-military divide that is significant–we need to close that and if we do, I believe, we’d get the benefit of more sparing use of our military,” said Everson.
Everson ended his time by calling for support from the Cornell audience. “I need help from folks right here…I’m doing my best. If you want a serious candidate who will tackle these issues, that’s up to you.”
Jess Reed, Co-Editor-in-Chief