CHS students hope to make their votes, voices heard
Appeal Staff Writer
Lawmakers have high expectations for the 52 students who took in the floor session of the Nevada State Legislature on Tuesday morning.
“We hope that you will one day run to fill the seats we currently occupy,” Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley told the students after they were introduced.
The high school seniors were taking part in the inaugural State Government Day organized by Youth Voice.
“We hope they get an understanding of how state government works, but also an appreciation for those involved in the process,” said Greg Bailor, Youth Voice community outreach coordinator.
Youth Voice is a nonprofit, nonpartisan Reno-based group designed to encourage civic engagement and support young people in becoming informed members of society.
The students were from Wooster, Damonte Ranch, Galena, Reed, Truckee Meadows and Carson high schools.
Carson High senior Adam Solinger said young voters’ views are often overlooked.
“Our biggest challenge is having our views respected. Because of our age, older people tend to write us off because we don’t have any worldly experience,” Solinger said.
The day also served as a kick-off for the organization’s national Voice the Vote campaign, which seeks to get voters age 18-20 registered and involved in the political process.
“We want to get them civically engaged,” Bailor said. “If young people don’t get involved less and less people will be contributing to the political process and making their voices heard.”
CHS senior Carl Hernandez said, “With our age group, we are so diverse that it’s hard to pin us down on one issue that affects us.”
Solinger said he plans to vote in the 2008 election and has a better understanding about how he will choose a candidate to support.
“I’m looking mostly at fiscal issues and if the candidate has the same beliefs that I do,” Solinger said.
In addition to sitting in on the Assembly, the students also toured the Nevada State Museum, had a lunch with several lobbyists and toured the Legislative Building. At the end of the day, all eligible students were given the opportunity to register to vote.
In the meantime, the students had some advice for the legislators.
“I would talk to them about political correctness and about how you can only get so politically correct before your are prosecuting minority groups,” Solinger said.
CHS senior Ryan Keating said, “I’d tell them to follow their beliefs and do their research. Don’t just do it because of the lobbyists.”
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
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