The Bemidji State women’s basketball team has its own political expert on the roster. A political science major, redshirt freshman Erica Trabing is thriving in the presidential election year. Her enjoyment of politics was planted at a young age and really started to grow during high school. Now she has taken that interest and turned into an academic major, with hopes of taking that degree and pursing a career. BSUBeavers.com sat down with Erica to talk about how she got interested in politics, how her political debating skills leak into normal conversations and her future plans.
How and when did you start enjoying politics?
I started off at a really early age, my dad watched the news all the time and I grew up watching Bill O’Reilly, Hannity and Colmes, everything. Even in 9th grade civics class, I was fascinated by it all, which was weird when you are 14-15 years old, most kids aren’t interested in that kind of stuff, but I was just really drawn to it.
What was it about politics that drew you in?
Everything, I really like the whole idea of the congress and all of the legislation of it all. Everything in civics, I was just drawn to it and the fact that our whole culture kind of thrives off of the government as a servant. I just found it interesting that the government is supposed to serve what we want.
Do you have a political idol and why?
Learning about the presidents, I have three top favorites. Teddy Rosevelt was one of my all-time favorites because he was such a charismatic president and he founded the NCAA – which was pretty cool - but everything about him. How he spoke, how he conducted himself, I was just fascinated by him. Another one is FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt). He had polio, had the leg braces and I thought it was cool he could run a country with having that kind of disability and he also got us out of the great depression – which was pretty sweet of him. I also like (Ronald) Reagan a lot because he was handed the presidancy in a cold war and stimulated our economy and got us back on our feet. Those are my top three.
With it being a presidential election year, how has your political science classes been?
It’s been a lot more interesting and I think for people who don’t normally like that kind of stuff, it’s a lot easier to learn when you are talking about (Mitt) Romney and (Barack) Obama instead of two presidents who we haven’t been around for, so its nice being able to talk about right now. It’s definitely a lot more interesting in class.
Have you been following the debates? What do you like about debates?
Yes. One thing about this year’s debates I have really liked is that I think both candidates are doing a good job focusing on the domestic issues, which for me it’s a lot more interesting to talk about because I am not that familiar with foreign issues or foreign policy. Debates are always interesting because they both get catty and that’s why I think a lot of people like to watch them. I really like how both of them are debating and they are both doing a good job.
Do you like to debate?
Yes, I do. Not necessarily about this all the time, but being a political science major, everything is a debate, anything someone says I am going to want to argue. Sam King on the football team, we actually got into a debate last night, it was pretty heated, I won, but I really like debating about anything so it’s really fun watching the debates because this is right up my ally.
Do you take your debating skills into outside conversations?
Yeah, at times, almost to a fault. But I am getting better.
When most people are getting mad at the political ads, do you perk up and listen or do you think it is just garbage too?
It’s kind of garbage to me, but I don’t think politics today would be anything like it was when George Washington was president and he didn’t run against anyone. I think it is what it is, you are always going to see it, there is always going to be slander, but I try to stay away from it and not to let it sway me either way. It’s kind of a part of what makes this country so great, that we can do that and it does suck at times, but I think without it I don’t know how people could take a side because they go off those kind of things. But I’m not really bothered by it.
How do you think media has changed how campaigns are run?
I think one thing for me that has changed is the Internet. If you go on Twitter when the debates are on and it’s all about the debates. Obama raised $600 million off of the Internet alone, they were able to send out through email and I found that really interesting. The media started with FDR and the radio broadcasts and now Obama had $600 million raised from the Internet and he had 1.5 million volunteers from the Internet alone, so I think it is a big factor on who wins the elections is who can use the media the best.
Is there a political career aspiration in you?
Yeah, I am actually planning on going to law school after this. I plan on getting a minor in phycology or a double major. I want to go to law school and hopefully do family practice law, but I have been looking into litigation stuff too, but for sure law school as of now.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).