Voices From The DNC

by Bianca Brooks

These are excerpts of interviews with young people in Charlotte on their generation’s civic engagement.

Re: The Enthusiasm Gap Among Young Voters

“They say he’s a do-nothing president, a sitting duck, but he’s trying to get things done. I mean, healthcare reform, that’s crazy. That’s something we’ve been dreaming of since…Teddy Roosevelt. I mean, it may be because of the pessimism the Republicans are spewing out, but I don’t know. It’s just a culmination of factors such as that.”

-Sean Kehren, 18, Delegate

“When Obama was first running for president, he was going to be the first black president. And so many people turned out. It was so important for them to get him elected and in the White house. And, after these four years, really the Republicans have put this message out, from top to bottom, that you know he’s failed. And that’s resonating even though it shouldn’t because he’s done so much.”

-Jana Hoffa, 19, Delegate

“When you see the nasty debates, and the lies they’re telling, I wouldn’t be enthused either… These Republicans keep pushing this right wing agenda. There used to be civility in government, civility in debates. That’s gone out the window. What new voter would want to be a part of that?”

-Quentin Ocoma, 21, Delegate

Re: Power of Youth Vote

“I got into politics when I began college. I grew up in a very small conservative Southern town in western North Carolina. I always had more progressive views and I never really had an outlet to express those when I was younger. So as soon as I started college I got really involved in College Democrats and started volunteering on campaigns. I’ve been hooked ever since.”

-Tori Taylor, 23, Youth Engagement Coordinator at the DNC

“Some of the issues that are dear to me are incarceration rates among black youth. Also, affordable health care for our black youth, as well as affordable education. I feel that it has been and always will be a work in progress. It’s really important that we come together as a unified unit on the issues that concern us and not really…(leave) it accountable to one person.”

-Jessica Brown, 26, Black Youth Vote Field Coordinator 

“The immigration issues (are) part of why I’m a Democrat. I actually organized a walkout when I was a sophomore in high school to advocate (on) immigration policy and the reason I did so and the reason why I’ve become invested in the party is because the president and the Democrats promote such a positive message on immigration and immigration policy.”

-Alejandra Salinas, 22, President of College Democrats of America 

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