Mitt Romney speaks to the Tea Party Credit: Sophia Ciocca , Sophia Ciocca

Mitt Romney may have established himself as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. But tomorrow, Pennsylvania — and Penn — will be asked to confront his qualities at the ballot box.

Among the Republican candidates, Romney stands out as the best choice. In comparison to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Romney has adopted moderate stances and will pose the most productive challenge to President Barack Obama on key political and economic fronts.

The former Massachusetts governor and CEO of Bain & Company combines valuable experience from both the public and private sector.

As governor, Romney negotiated impressively across party lines. He set aside political differences in order to work with predominantly Democratic state legislatures. While he has been widely criticized for instituting an individual mandate for health care in Massachusetts while rejecting Obama’s current plan, his ability to identify differences between state-level and national policies should be praised.

Of the three candidates, Romney possesses the skill and necessary tact to work with individuals across both sides of the political spectrum. He has the ability to unite — rather than polarize — citizens at a crucial juncture in the United States’ history.

At a rally outside the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia last week, Romney paid homage to this sentiment when he said, “we need a president who will not attack fellow Americans, who will bring us together.”

As this country attempts to lift itself out of a recession, Romney’s familiarity with big businesses — in a variety of different sectors — may prove beneficial. The executive experience he undoubtedly possesses from his days as co-founder of Bain Capital and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City will also prove useful if he is elected into office.

Yet Romney’s hardliner stances on issues such as Planned Parenthood, abstinence-only sex education and more importantly, illegal immigration, are worrying, especially to college students.

As members of a University that supports undocumented students, it is impossible for us to overlook Romney’s outright rejection of the DREAM Act and the ease at which he supports deporting illegal immigrants. Although Romney attempts to compensate for this by promoting increased legal immigration to the United States, it’s unrealistic to uproot families and individuals who contribute to this country in the same capacity as citizens.

Any staunchly anti-immigrant rhetoric also risks alienating minority communities in this country and will prove counterproductive to Romney’s ability to unite those possessing diverse views.

For the most part, candidates have done their part in educating the public about their stances. The crucial thing for Penn to do come Tuesday is to fill the polls. Although Romney has virtually secured the Republican nominations, Pennsylvania voters will have sway on a number of local races.

This year, 2006 College graduate and former Associate Director of the Greenfield Intercultural Center Fatimah Muhammad is challenging incumbent James Roebuck for the Democratic state representative position in the 188th District, which includes Penn.

Muhammad is challenging Roebuck — who has been in office since 1985 — on the issue of school vouchers that will enable low-income families to send their children to schools outside their immediate district.

Though Muhammad lacks the experience that Roebuck has, her decision to run provides competition to a rarely challenged position.

Members of the Penn community should take it upon themselves to decide who will influence the policies and politics that affect this University, as well as it local and national community.

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