People Who Feel Included Will Vote||
Jason Rae, a 17-year-old delegate to the Democratic National Convention in
Boston, talks about why he got interested in politics and what issues are important
to young people.
being a Kerry supporter
on the issues
on Youth Vote
have never been one who likes to fit into a mold. While my friends were telling
people they wanted to be teachers and doctors, I was letting people know that
I wanted to be president. While my friends were getting together to go to the
movies, I was going out and volunteering for political campaigns.
memories go way back. I can remember the Bill Clinton-George H.W. Bush race from
when I was 5. Although I wish I could tell people exactly where my love for politics
comes from, I don't even know. Maybe it was in fourth grade. I did a report on
President John F. Kennedy and fell completely in love with the Democratic Party
and knew that there is where my future was.
involved in Wisconsin politics|
I recently took my first big step toward my career goal of becoming president
of the United States. In June, I attended the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's
State Convention. Not only did I go and watch the speeches, but I campaigned for
my own political race.
Every four years, Wisconsin gets to elect two men
and two women to serve on the Democratic National Committee. I put my name into
the race and gave it my all. I had my friends get together to make signs; I produced
flyers for all the chairs; I had stickers made; I greeted every convention delegate.
By the time the vote tallies were counted, I discovered that I had received the
most votes out of the three candidates.
At 17 years old, not even old enough
to vote in a true election, I defeated a former state legislator and also the
state's Firefighter Union President. I became, many tell me, one of the youngest
members of the DNC in history.
platform: Get young people involved|
I credit my win to the platform I ran on: Representing America's next voting
generation. The people of Wisconsin understood what I was saying when I was telling
them that too often people at the leadership of the political parties, both Democratic
and Republican alike, are "older" and somewhat out of touch with the
newest and youngest voters.
Candidates often focus a great deal of attention
on economic issues and foreign affairs. While these issues are extremely important,
many of the social issues, such as same-sex marriage, education costs, health
care, are much more important to the younger generation of voters.
seeing ever rising prices for attending college, and students are leaving school
with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Having a candidate find a way to
make college more affordable would draw the entire 18-to-25-year-old voting demographic.
area is health care. At this same age, students are no longer being covered by
their parents' insurance. They may still be in school or without a full-time job,
leaving them very vulnerable. Some sort of universal health care package would
entice this group.
My goal is to work to see that 18 to 25 year olds feel
included in the political process, that they feel candidates at all levels care
about their interests, and that they simply get out and vote!
to the convention in Boston|
Because of my election to the Democratic National Committee, I will have two
meetings a year around the country and four each year in Wisconsin. However, what
excites me more is that I get the chance to go to the National Convention in Boston!
I cannot wait to head to Boston this weekend. I have watched political
conventions on television before, but now I will get to be right there. I will
be watching as former President Bill Clinton addresses the Fleet Center, will
listen to Senator John Edwards, and will witness John Kerry accepting the nomination
to be the Democratic Party's candidate for president of the United States.
of this, being involved in campaigns, being elected to the Democratic National
Committee, going to the Democratic National Convention in Boston, and I can't
yet vote! I miss the fall general election by just three weeks. But I don't mind.
At least I don't have to wait until 18 to get involved in the political process.
Rae, a seventeen-year-old from Rice Lake Wis., is a delegate-at-large for the
Democratic National Convention in Boston