BY JAMES BONNEAU // OCT. 7, 2015 //

Congressman Mike Capuano visited campus on Tuesday to speak to 130 members of the Curry community about communication and civic engagement. Playing on over a decade’s worth of political experience, Capuano expressed many opinions about America’s present as well as many hopes for America’s future.

Capuano was elected to Congress in 1998 and has served over a decade in the House of Representatives. Before being elected to Congress, Capuano served as the Mayor of Somerville, Mass. from 1990-1999.

Congressman Mike Capuano. // PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFF LEMBERG
Congressman Mike Capuano. // PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFF LEMBERG

After explaining his background, Congressman Capuano explained how the term “politician” has changed over his career. According to Capuano, the word politician now has a negative connotation and it’s due to the press’ mass coverage of corrupt politicians.

However, Capuano hopes to serve as an example of how a politician should serve citizens. Capuano is a politician who “gets out of bed and goes to help,” refusing to ignore the needs of the people he represents and serves.

Congressman Capuano is a Democrat, but he is fiscally conservative. If a program is needed, it needs to be paid for. As he repeated numerous times, “there is no such thing as free.” Capuano believes that paying for state programs helps to teach taxpayers financial responsibility. Everyone is held accountable.

According to Capuano, “Every single day is a compromise and nothing gets changed without compromise.” As a fiscally conservative Democrat, it is often difficult for Capuano to find common ground with his fellow congressmen and congresswomen. However, if politicians are unwilling or unable to collaborate, it leads to a lot of trouble and inefficiency. Capuano firmly believes that working with others and sharing ideas is how problems are solved efficiently.

Capuano asked the room, “Who has served in the military?”

Not one person raised their hand. Visibly disappointed by the lack of hands, Capuano said, “The military is becoming something someone else does.” Instead of every American willing to fight for their country, it has become a job that many depend on others to do for them. If Capuano were president for the day, he would instate universal military employment, which would call for every American citizen to serve in the military.

PHOTO COURTESY OF KIRK HAZLETT.
PHOTO COURTESY OF KIRK HAZLETT.

Still on the topic of the military, Capuano’s attention turned to America’s presence in the Middle East. He stands by the decision to fight in Afghanistan, but does not believe that the war in Iraq was morally just.

Capuano said, “America does not have the power to affect change in the Middle East without help from Europe.”

The last issue Capuano addressed was the topic he was initially invited to speak on – the media.

As mayor, Capuano was told to avoid the media as much as possible. When the media would enter the scene, Capuano would leave the scene. Now, media is unavoidable, especially social media. Capuano is particularly unimpressed by Twitter.

Capuano said, “I have never seen an intelligent thought expressed in 140 characteristics.”

Sophomore Communication student Molly Fanikos was shocked by Capuano’s stance on social media.

“I would think that a politician couldn’t afford to stay away from social media,” Fanikos said, “That’s how politicians are really able to connect with young voters.”

Fanikos was very against the idea of universal military employment and said that distracted her from the rest of what Capuano was trying to say.

“I think everyone should have a choice about what they do in life. That’s the appeal of the American Dream,” Fanikos said, “I would hate to grow up knowing my future has been planned out for me.”

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