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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SMU Democrats host candidate Emil Reichstadt

SMU sophomore Rhiannon Hamam listens as Emil Reichstadt, the Democratic candidate running for State Representative in District 108, talks policy. His opponent is Republican Dan Branch.
Stuart Palley
SMU sophomore Rhiannon Hamam listens as Emil Reichstadt, the Democratic candidate running for State Representative in District 108, talks policy. His opponent is Republican Dan Branch.

SMU sophomore Rhiannon Hamam listens as Emil Reichstadt, the Democratic candidate running for State Representative in District 108, talks policy. His opponent is Republican Dan Branch. (Stuart Palley)

Emil Reichstadt chatted with students during Wednesday evening’s SMU College Democrats meeting. Reichstadt is running against Republican incumbent Dan Branch for State Representative of Dallas’ District 108.

“So far the campaign is going well. Right now I am losing,” Reichstadt joked, “but we’re continuing to gain ground every day. I hope to draw within a percentage point of my opponent and come November I will pull in front of him.”

Reichstadt feels it is important that Democrats, Republicans and Independents work together to get legislation moving again in Austin.

“We have kind of lost touch,” he said. “In Texas it is so partisan. I want to reach across the aisle and work together; that is the only way to get things done for the people.”

Reichstadt and his wife Shirley are long-time District 108 residents and have two children, Heather and Steffen. While growing up in Dallas, both children developed asthma and battled the respiratory condition until they moved away for college.

Within a year of being out of Texas, Heather and Steffen’s asthma went away completely. Reichstadt believes that Dallas’ polluted air contributed to his children’s illnesses. So, cleaning up the environment is among Reichstadt’s top priorities.

“We are putting our population at risk by not protecting our air. If we start at the beginning of next year to clean up our air, we can substantially improve our environment and air quality within the next five to 10 years,” he said.

Reichstadt wants to put scrubbers on coal stacks, which will not only produce cleaner coal, but also provide a useful additive used in cleaner concrete production.

In addition to the cleaning up the environment, Reichstadt is in favor of a national health care system.

“I think we need to support the CHIP Program. It’s a good place to start for state-wide insurance,” he said.

The CHIP Program is an insurance plan for children of working-class families whose income is too high to be eligible for Medicaid, but cannot afford decent health care coverage.

Reichstadt said if a child does not have access to CHIP and something goes unattended because they can’t afford their insurance’s expensive co-payment, they could end up in the hospital, which is much more costly.

“What should have cost about $10 or $15 now costs $400 or $500. We need to take preventative action; it’s good public policy and will save money in the long run,” he said.

With a bachelor’s degree from SMU and a law degree from the University of Arkansas, Reichstadt believes that education is important for young people today.

“We need to make universities and community colleges more accessible. Putting caps on tuition will make it more affordable for young people to go to college,” he said.

Without tuition regulations, Reichstadt says that we are going to be much poorer because they are graduating with $10,000-$20,000 of debt from student loans.

“Regulation on tuition and making loans more affordable is the way we build an intelligent workforce,” he said.

“If we can do these things regarding education, the environment and health care, within the next five years we can turn our economy around. We need to make these priorities,” he said.

Reichstadt applauded students for being involved in the issues and encouraged them to act on their beliefs.

“I am tremendously proud of your generation. Your generation will do things my generation couldn’t do, like address education, the environment and health care. You are more engaged and that’s what it takes,” he said.

SMU history professor Ben Johnson speaks to the crowd about environmental problems facing the presidential candidates during the Democracy Matters panel discussion Thursday evening in the Hughes-Trigg Commons. Johnson’s and the other panelists’ speeches were followed by commentary from Executive Director of Democracy Matters Joan Mandleon on how important issues and money come into play during presidential elections. (John Schreiber)

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