DNC chair lauds diversity

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said last week in the Marvin Center that Republicans have turned away minorities with their stances on immigration and civil rights issues.

Dean spoke Tuesday at an event honoring Asian Pacific Islander American heritage month, which was co-sponsored by the College Democrats and the Indian Students Association.

The event was closed to the press, except for a Hatchet photographer.

In an interview before the event, Dean thanked Asian-Americans for their contributions to the Democratic Party.

“Traditionally, a generation ago, when many Asian-Americans first came they often started small businesses, and small-business people often have a tendency to vote Republican,” Dean said. “That’s starting to disappear now because of the Bush administration’s opinions on immigration and on the Patriot Act. A lot of young (Asian-Americans) are now very, very involved in Democratic politics.”

Dean said he has been on campus many times as chairman and that he has worked with GW students who have interned at the DNC.

“I love (GW). It’s great,” Dean said. “You’ve got terrific programs that are great for young folks who are interested in politics.”

The former governor said he was impressed by the level of student involvement, particularly during this year’s presidential primary season.

“Over the last three election cycles, including this one, more and more young people are getting involved and are mostly voting Democratic,” Dean said.

The chairman, who was a presidential candidate in 2004, said this generation of students is more organized and more politically active than previous generations.

“You are all now making your mark the same way my generation did, except you’re doing it differently,” Dean said. “Instead of protesting and having a million people on the Mall, you send a million e-mails to Congress and shut their systems down for a while.”

Dean’s visit to campus came on a critical Democratic primary election day, as Americans from North Carolina and Indiana headed to the polls. When asked about the primary, Dean said he is confident the Democrats will have a nominee by the end of June.

“I think the voters will choose,” Dean said. “We have five or six more primaries after this, and I’m hoping that by the end of June all of the unpledged delegates will say who they want and we’ll have a nominee.”

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