Huntsman speaks about “maximizing our democracy” through commitment to change

| Staff Reporter

Stephen Huber | Student Life

Jon Huntsman Jr. speaks to a packed Graham Chapel audience Tuesday as part of the University’s Assembly Series.

Former governor, ambassador to China and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. spoke in Graham Chapel Tuesday evening about his reflections on politics, the college generation and China.

Huntsman spoke of the good things he is expecting from this generation, especially the ways in which he hopes it will serve the country.

“It’s OK for some people to escape and shirk their duty in terms of giving back, but for you all, no chance, because you have been given too much. The expectations will be high that you’ll be able to take the energy and the practice and the intelligence of your generation to move forward and bring about a cultural shift that will need to happen in this country,” Huntsman said.

Huntsman shared an optimistic outlook on the future of America, including the diversity of the nation and bipartisanship of local governments.

He did, however, mention that he feels that term limits should be imposed on members of Congress as they are often caught in an endless cycle that allows for little differentiation of thought from opposing political views.

“You see, our leaders have not been able to come around a big issue today, the simplest of tasks, being able to meet with Republicans and Democrats…and compromising and negotiating,” Huntsman said. “It’s breaking the back of this nation. Our institutions are sound. We have a constitution for heaven’s sake, the longest-surviving in the world, and there isn’t a single problem that doesn’t have a solution…But your generation will need to seek a cultural fix and bring about a change in the politics of problem-solving.”

Though Huntsman had previously delivered the Founders Day Student Address in November, the Washington University Political Review had petitioned to bring him to campus last spring before the announcement had been made. Even so, WUPR Editor-in-Chief Moira Moynihan was glad to have brought him in for the event.

Stephen Huber | Student Life

Huntsman discusses the importance of participating in democracy at his campus lecture Tuesday.

“He is such a compelling figure in the current political scene, and he really is at the intersection of business and politics,” Moynihan said. “Even though he was here twice this year, I think his speech was geared a lot more toward students and had a lot to offer that the Founders Day [speech] didn’t have because that was not geared toward the student population as much as ours was…And I think that he did speak to a lot of issues that are relevant to the student body. Well over half of his speech was devoted to youth and what issues we’re facing.”

Freshman Carl Hooks was pleased by the topics covered in Huntsman’s address.

“He covered a lot of different ground—U.S. politics, how U.S. culture and the country needs to change and progress, U.S.-China relations, what’s going on in China,” Hooks said. “I’m studying Chinese right now, and I’m really interested in U.S.-China relations, so it was very applicable to me in that sense, and I got a lot out of seeing the perspective of someone who has been involved in China.”

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