First lady Q&A

August 22, 2006|by ALAN SOKOL

A few weeks ago, I interviewed Kendel Ehrlich, the wife of Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, about what teens should do to get involved in the political world. The interview was released as a podcast on Alan's Yak, at Here is a hold-in-your-hands version of the interview:

Alan Sokol: Is this your first podcast?

Kendel Ehrlich: It is my first podcast! But I'd like your listeners to know that I do have an iPod. ... Mine only has music on it so far.

Alan: Why should teenagers be interested in politics?

Ehrlich: Because it's so interesting. It's very interesting and it takes in lots of different skill levels, one of which is learning how to listen, how to respond, to formulate your own views on something, and to be able to articulate why you've decided that's your view.

Now I'm pretty lucky about politics because I was someone who always wanted to discuss issues. And there was a show many, many years ago that was a show about lawyers, and I knew I wanted to be a lawyer at some point. It was "Perry Mason," and I thought that if he could do it, I could do it. And (from that point on) I always really wanted to be an attorney.


Now that fluctuated for different times, but eventually I sat down with my dad and I said, "No, I want to be a lawyer." I think that profession lends itself to a lot of the skills that you use in politics.

But certainly that's not the only way that you can get involved, and a lot of it can be through community organizations and just getting involved in your community. And I think that's really important. I've had a very fortunate, nice life, and I think it's important to be part of the community and help others that might need help.

Alan: Now, this all seems complicated, and I'm going to be voting in a few years. Where can I and other teens learn more about politics?

Ehrlich: Well, you can learn more about (Gov. Bob Ehrlich) at so that you know more about his views and what his administration has done.

Bob Ehrlich has had actually a long history of voting because he was eight years in the state legislature in which he voted on many, many issues, and then eight years in Congress in which, of course, you vote on many issues.

I think that you can go and learn about individual politicians (from Web sites), and also the two major parties have Web sites in which you could learn a little bit more about their issues and what they think is important, and certainly ways that you could get involved.

We have lots of young people that are involved in our campaign and that is a great way to get started and to see if you really like it.

Alan: Is there anything you'd like to say to the teenagers of Washington County and the state of Maryland?

Ehrlich: Yes. I would urge the teenagers of Washington County to pay attention, whether it's through reading the paper, or online or whatever it may be, about who is running and what they stand for, and what you think about them. Because it's important to know - later on when you do have the opportunity to vote - to be informed, to get involved now, to help people out.

People that are in local elections need young people to go door-to-door to really be able to spread the word about what they're doing. I would urge the young folks to get involved, get informed, then get involved in a campaign or behind someone in some active way that is in agreement with your own views.

If you want tohear the full interviewwith Kendel Ehrlich, along with my other weekly podcasts, go to and click on "Political Gaming" under Alan's Yak. And you don't even need an iPod to listen. Most computers with speakers will work.

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