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Caucus training attracts community leaders

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Caucus training held at CSU-Pueblo | Photo courtesy of Alec Hererra
A caucus training was held at CSU-Pueblo. | Photo by Alec Hererra

Colorado State University-Pueblo held a “caucus training” Feb. 18 that was designed to attract leaders in the community of Pueblo and give them a general understanding of what the upcoming democratic caucus will be like in early March.

Organized by house district captain of Pueblo Rick Ringler and training captain Meral Sarper, the training took place on campus in LARC room 236, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Sarper said this event was purposefully organized to be a little more “low-key” and designed to attract leaders in the community who were already heavily involved with the race or were looking to be involved.

Those in attendance featured musicians, former teachers, sociologists, psychologists, retired workers and other members of the Pueblo community who wanted to be involved in the upcoming presidential race.

While the event was put together by Bernie Sanders supporters and looked solely at the democratic side of the race, it was focused in on general information about caucuses and how the process happens.

Many who attended the training had never participated in a presidential caucus before, so crucial information was given out on how to become a “caucus captain,” how a preference poll is conducted and the mathematical breakdown of how votes will ultimately be counted.

Several hypothetical scenarios were done at the training just to make sure everyone understood how things were calculated and how certain situations might be resolved.

One attendee, Rob Moore, 45, had previously acted as a delegate in a state election and attended a caucus before. He explained his experience to the others at the training.

Moore said being a delegate in the past was “a lot of fun” and that he was taken aback by the raucous crowd holding up signs, chanting and showing support for their candidate at a large event.

Moore also said it was important to show that “no matter how big the campaign is, it really does come down to the individual.”

In spite of a lack of student presence at the event, many thought something like this training would benefit students and young people more than anyone.

“This election represents the millennials taking control of the future,” said Andrew McGregor, 50.

McGregor said he thinks an event like this “should be mandatory” for young people. Moore added that a civics class should also be mandatory.

While talking about how the university should handle political events, Bea Butler, 57, said that the college should “absolutely provide a political platform for student,” and should teach students how to be more involved.

Sarper reiterated that this event wasn’t necessarily designed to bring in students or focus in on young people. There will, however, be events that are more student-focused, she said, such as a “general training” for the public that will be similar to the “caucus training.”

There is currently no designated time for a general training session on campus, though there is still the possibility of other political events being held at CSU-Pueblo in the upcoming months.