Students meet with local officials, discussing issues that matter to them

Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 6:18 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Students meet with elected officials and candidates on the issues that matter most to them.

The roundtable discussion was hosted by the Arizona Students’ Association. A non-partisan organization that helps to empower the student voice, a rather strong group in the country when it comes to voting.

Young voters were a crucial part of Arizona’s last governor race, with fewer than 20,000 votes deciding the outcome.

With races coming down to a slim margin, young voters say getting out to vote is more important than ever.

“We are the next generation,” said Melissa Ochoa, a student at the University of Arizona.

“We are going to be the future politicians and it really matters that we start taking a stance now, and there’s already been so much damage from previous politicians and people who have had such an impact on us, and now it’s our turn to make a better future for our future youth.”

Heading to the polls will be a new experience for many students. And while voting for the first time is always a thrill, there is a concern for keeping that momentum going to have all young, registered voters out to the polls.

On the last election day, out of the 28 million people from 18 to 24 years of age, only 13 million registered to vote.

The number of actual voters was even smaller, reaching only 7.3 million.

Tim Kosse, the Director of the Youth Empowerment Caucus, says the focus may need to shift away from just the person in the office.

“We definitely need to have more issue-oriented rallies or caucuses like this to reach the 18 – 24 youth vote, which are vitally important in our elections,” said Kosse.

“They vote for issues and not candidates.”

Stations were set up to discuss important topics in politics, like health policy and LGBTQ+ issues.

Students also had the chance to register to vote and to learn how to mobilize, giving students from any political affiliation the skills to organize and select a candidate that fits their platform best.

“There’s so many issues and things happening,” said Eva DaSilva, another UA student, “it’s important to be informed on both sides of the spectrum and see where you stand and how you feel about certain decisions.”

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