Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. It is the point at which the people can make their voices heard as clearly and as equally as possible. Unfortunately, the United States lags other world democracies in voter turnout, and Texas lags other states in the same. Often citizens can feel disconnected by politicians. Others feel too uninformed to be making decisions at the ballot box. Many are simply unregistered to vote. These are all problems that we can begin to fix starting with better engagement and outreach. That is why my staff and I visited three high schools in my district to register high school seniors to vote, talk to them about why government is important and to encourage them to get civically-involved.
At Del Valle High School, I spoke to a government class about how local and state government is important to their daily lives. Want good roads and reliable city services? Council members Renteria and Garza have more power than President Obama in those arenas.
At Travis High School, I introduced an assembly to Constable Maria Canchola, who happened to be on campus to be a volunteer mentor for immigrants parents. I explained to the students that all elected officials are important to making government work, but government will only work if they make their voices heard at the polls and at public meetings.
At Eastside Memorial High School, I praised them for the school’s recent turnaround toward a positive direction. I explained the importance of community in building EMHS up, and the need for them to keep applying pressure to their public officials to invest resources and time into keeping the school successful.
It is critical that my generation steps up its game in opening space for young people to get involved in politics and policy-making. We are responsible for giving tomorrow’s leaders a foundation for success so that they may hope to live in a community even greater than today’s.
Not registered to vote? Grab your phone and text “Register” to 48683 (IVOTE) to receive a postage-paid application by mail.
Trio of Stars
I am proud to have co-sponsored with Rep. Celia Israel a table for the Trio of Stars brunch on this past Saturday. Money raised will go to voter turnout drives to elect more Democrats and progressive leaders as we gear up for the 2016 primary and general elections.
The brunch, hosted by outgoing County Chair Jan Soifer, honored three remarkable women: former Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, community activist Lulu Flores and all-star volunteer Mary Patrick.
- Cole is a trailblazer who was the first African-American woman to get elected to the Austin City Council.
- Flores is a known for her work with the National Women’s Political Caucus.
- Patrick has been an outspoken progressive voice on issues for over five decades — from the Civil Rights movement to anti-Vietnam war protests to women’s reproductive rights rallies.