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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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State representatives, campus leaders urge students to participate politically

In light of new leadership in America, local and campus political figures urge all citizens, but especially students, to get involved politically and make their voices heard through political involvement, beyond protests.
David Isenhour, chairman of the Texas A&M College Republicans, said the only way democracy can work is through active involvement of all of the citizens which can be through several different ventures. If a person chooses to abandon their involvement with the system, they cannot expect to have a voice. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) encourages young people to get involved politically whether or not they plan to pursue a career in politics.
“Because their future is the one that is being decided today, and so the earlier that they can get involved and understanding the way our government works whether it’s local, state or federal, the more possible input they’ll have to be able to impact their future,” Flores said.
Flores said the issues students should be aware of today are national security, economic security and the future of the healthcare system. These issues are all being heavily discussed and debated in Congress currently, and the decisions made on them will impact the lives of  those entering the workforce in the coming years.
“Today, the United States has one of the least competitive tax systems in the  world and that affects the economic opportunity for our young people so, one of things we are focused on pretty heavily in Congress is tax reform,” Flores said.
“Trying to build a tax system that is competitive for the 21st century that helps make sure that all Americans — in particular the young Americans — have great opportunities for economic growth.”
Lucas Fernandez, Texas Aggie Democrats president, said it’s important to be aware of community issues, and joining an organization within a local community is the first step in having a platform to be heard.
“I think it’s important because they are members of the community, and so it’s important to know what’s going on, to know how it affects you, and to be able to have a say in it,” Fernandez said.
Isenhour said reaching out to all students, even those currently uninvolved with any part of the political process, is important for his organization.
“Another way that students can get involved is help promoting issues,” Isenhour said. “This semester we are having a very ambitious tabling campaign on campus, and that campaign is going to be covering a wide host of issues.”
Flores said he’s seen a growth in involvement among students, especially in the last few months. However, Isenhour said less than 30 percent of students voted in the last election. He also said the first two elections of a new voter are critical.
“There is a saying out there that one of the best indicators of how somebody is going to vote the rest of their life is how they’lll vote in the first two elections,” Isenhour said.
While there are a variety of ways to promote your viewpoint on certain issues, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) said simply protesting about issues is not a way to get results. What really makes a difference, he said, is participation in discussions on these issues.
“My hope is of the 1,000 young people that protested [early February], that they’re registering, they’re voting,” O’Rourke said. “They’re showing up at Town Hall meetings. They’re pressuring office holders and that they themselves are ultimately running for office, because that’s what is going to change things.”

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