Monday, February 8, 2016

A Note to the Undecided

Even though I'm too young to vote, I feel it's part of my civic responsibility to use my voice to help build the kind of future I want, not just for myself, but for my country. Maybe you are undecided about who you'll vote for in your upcoming primary. Maybe you're not just thinking about yourself, but about the young people in our country and what we want. I can't speak for all young people, but I can tell you a little about the things that are important to me in this important election.

I'm going to be going to college after three more years. That's exciting. It's also scary.  College admissions are very competitive. I have to work hard in my classes so I can have a chance at even being considered by some of the schools I'd like to attend. I also have to work hard so that I can pay for my education. I overheard my parents talking the other day. They were proud of me because I got straight A's. They were talking about how maybe some of these dream schools I have on my list might not be just a dream for me. They know that the students applying to these schools often have a lot of advantages. My parents were talking about what they could afford to do to help me and talking about how they wished they could afford to do more. I'm lucky that I have parents who are willing and able to help me achieve my goals. Many kids don't have that.

I only have three years before I start college and I can't afford to wait for $70 billion per year promises to give "free" tuition to kids from families who can already afford expensive summer programs, tutoring for the SAT, and can contribute to college tuition. Many of the schools I want to get into will offer me aid based on my need and I can get merit aid and scholarships if I work hard. I want to build on what we already have that works and make it better and stronger so that it works for even more students at even more schools. I need a President who will fight to get results, who will celebrate each incremental result beside me, then get up the next day and fight for more. Hillary Clinton will be that President and has a college plan that is strong, sensible, and will help more students not only get an affordable education, but a quality education.

I know Hillary Clinton will fight for me and get results because she's been doing that even before I was born. When I was little, I had health insurance because of the CHIP program Hillary fought for. That's why when I hear my grandparents talking about paying for their medicine under their Medicare plans, I trust that Hillary Clinton is the person that can help lower those drug costs. In her speech to the UN conference in Beijing that's included in a book of important speeches in American history I got when I was a little girl, Hillary Clinton declared that "women's rights are human rights," and I trust her to take on the attacks that threaten to limit my access to things like equal pay and healthcare and work to protect my rights and expand my opportunities.

I want America's young people to have the kind of leadership that inspires us and values us. A lot of candidates and representatives say they care about us and want our involvement, but often they mean they just want us to help them. Hillary Clinton has been consistent in making it clear that she values the involvement of young people in any way. Even if they are not fighting for her, she is going to fight for them. I and other young people I talk to who have been honored to meet and speak with her agree that when she answers our questions, she gives us honest answers instead of just telling us what we want to hear to get our support. She not only focuses on the big issues that affect young people, but on the small details. She knows, for example, that my state of North Carolina eliminated a voter pre-registration program for 16 and 17 year olds and voter education programs in our high schools. She took the time to find out about it, look at the motives behind it, speak out for the young people in my state, and advocate a plan for automatic voter registration. It means a lot to me that Hillary Clinton shows through both words and deeds that she values the involvement of all our nation's young people and is showing us that even if we don't agree, all of our voices have value in our democracy. There is no candidate who better exemplifies the kind of leadership our young people deserve.

It's because of Hillary Clinton paving the way that I can, it is because of her example that I am, and it's because of the policies she's advocating that I will. I'm asking you today for your vote for Hillary Clinton, but know that no matter how you vote, I appreciate you using your voice in the way you feel will best help me and other young people of our country. I might be too young to vote right now, but I promise that if you stand with me today and help elect Hillary Clinton to the office of President of the United States, I will join you at the ballot in 2020 to reelect her to her second term.

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