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Pizza and politics: Student democrats co-host debate watch party

The third democratic debate was broadcast Tuesday night and the Bradley University College Democrats took it as an opportunity to connect with other Peoria-area democrats over slices of pizza.

The Bradley University College Democrats have hosted on-campus watch parties in the past, but decided to change things up when Tazewell County Democrats and the Peoria County Democrats approached them with the idea to co-host the third debate.

They hosted the event in conjunction with Peoria County Democrats, Tazewell County Democrats of Illinois and The Young Democrats from Illinois Central College (ICC) in the Peoria Pizza Works banquet room.

President of the Bradley University College Democrats, Priscila Calderon, said this is a good time to pay attention to the debates.

“[The debate] is getting to the point where more diversified topics are covered,” Calderon said. “Introductions are done and now the candidates are differentiating their stances and approaches to issues.”

Throughout the debate, the room was filled with reactions and discussions on the candidates and issues they addressed.

“I think it’s important that people are talking about universal healthcare and women’s reproductive rights,” vice president of the ICC Young Democrats, Lincoln Koehler, said.

Chair of the Tazewell County Democrats, Brittany Miller, said she was thrilled with the night’s turnout.

“This is where we build momentum for whatever nominee we have after March,” Miller said.

Among the attendees was 2019 Bradley alumnus Zach Nolan, who said the organization has had a history of helping out other democratic groups in the area, partly for networking opportunities.

“Trying to get college students involved in political discourse isn’t easy, but we at least try to act as a resource for groups in the area to help connect them with students interested in volunteering or getting a job,” Nolan said.

The group is currently working with attorney Chris McCall’s campaign for Peoria County State’s Attorney.

“Any type of campaign experience is really great at getting us more connected with the efforts and voices in Peoria and is particularly beneficial as experience for those looking to dabble in politics,” Calderon said.

The Bradley University College Democrats have already connected many students with internships and volunteering opportunities.

“A couple members have shown interest in campaigning and a few, like myself, volunteer for his campaign and talk to people about his message and go door knocking,” Calderon said.

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