Hanging With Cantor

Kristen Oaks

Hanover High School students
may not have had the chance to personally
speak with Eric Cantor, congressman
of Virginia’s 7th Congressional
District, but thanks to recent
webcam technology they were able to
get some face time with him Wednesday,
February 5th.
In a video conference by Google
Hangout, students from both Hanover
and Culpeper were able to hear
directly from Cantor regarding questions
they had proposed. After a brief
introduction and explanation of his
role in the U.S. House of Representatives
(and an apology for tardiness),
Cantor opened the discussion for
questions from the schools.
Government students from Chris
Pace’s B2 class arranged questions
beforehand to pose to the Republican
politician, who had no prior preparation
for the questions.
Their first question hit upon a difficult
topic – minimum wage. Pace’s
students recognized the idea of a
higher minimum wage, $10.10, as
proposed by the president in his State
of the Union Address, and asked what
Cantor suggested for low wage earners.
“The reality is that wages in America
have not gone up in ten years, and
when you figure in inflation, people
are working more and taking home
less. I propose reducing the hours of
the work-week from 40 to 29,” the
congressman responded.
He supported his opposition to
increasing the $7.25 wage by stating
that an increase would only prompt
a loss in jobs – businesses would fire
workers to keep costs down.
Their next question addressed a
more sensitive topic: “What is your
opinion on gay marriage?” to which
Cantor had, as a conservative, an unsurprising
“I believe in traditional marriage,
between a man and a woman, but
I also believe in what this country
stands for and I think there needs to
be a balance there,” he said.
Pace’s students also sought Cantor’s
opinion on hot topics like recreational
marijuana, healthcare, and the
national deficit.
“We didn’t want to ask him simple
questions – we chose sensitive topics
because we wanted to know what he
really stood for,” said senior Rebekah
Seay. “We wanted him to show why
he was qualified to be our representative.”
Culpeper students, on the other
hand, steered clear from controversial
subjects and instead ventured for an
inside look on political life – questions
like “Why did you run for Congress?”
and “What advice would you offer an
aspiring politician?” offered a break
from Hanover’s grilling inquiries.
Despite some technical difficulties
and fuzzy transmissions, government
students appreciated the chance
to hear directly from their local congressman.
He even encouraged students
to stay dedicated to their studies,
go to college and get a head start
in life.
“It was an enriching experience,”
said senior Seth Collins, who attended
the session. “I enjoyed hearing what
Cantor had to say.”


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