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College students reflect on presidential campaign

October 28, 2008

Editor's note: As the presidential campaign winds to a close, both candidates are courting young voters. We asked college students from schools across the Tri-State region if the candidates are making a good impression. Their answers will run today through Friday in the Tri-State section of The Herald-Mail and will be published in the election section of our Web site.

Alyssa Yeip



Age: 20

Hometown: East China, Mich.

College, year: Wilson College, senior

1) Have you closely followed other races in the past? How did you first start your political involvement?

"I followed races in the past, but not as closely as I have been this cycle. I first got involved in politics because of my mother's involvement in the community. As I got older, I branched out on my own to get involved. In high school, I volunteered for the local Democratic offices during the John Kerry campaign."

2) What do you find compelling about this presidential race?

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"The compelling thing about any race is how it will impact the future of our country. Our country is in the midst of many issues and who is elected will determine how things play out. The policy decisions that whoever is elected on Nov. 4 makes will play a huge role in both domestic and foreign policy issues long after they leave office. It's interesting to watch the races and see the opinions and plans that the candidates have for the future of our country."

3) Who is your chosen candidate? What drew you to that person?

"Barack Obama. As a young person, it's very scary to watch the financial markets slowly crash. In terms of the candidate who has my best interest in mind, I think that Sen. Obama is more in touch with the issues facing young people today and is more concerned with social welfare, as well. I want a candidate who supports programs for education and educational funding because in the long run, the education of America's youth is the best economic policy."

4) Have you attended any events at which the candidates delivered an address? Have you participated in the campaign?

"In August, I volunteered at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. I worked inside the Pepsi Center during the week and I worked at INVESCO the night Sen. Obama gave (his) speech."

5) What issues do you think most influence young voters?

Currently, I think the economy is the major issue influencing young voters. Students are having trouble getting student loans and those who are entering the job market are having difficulty getting a job to support themselves. As a student with substantial student loan debt, I find the economy seriously influencing my educational decisions because it's hard to predict if I will be able to pay off my loans once I enter the work force. Many students are passing up educational opportunities because they fear taking out loans altogether. As I mentioned earlier, education is probably the best economic policy our country can have and when students are denying themselves quality education because of finances, I don't think it looks good for the future of our country.

Jeb Inge



Age: 21

Hometown: Blairsville, Pa.

College, year: Shepherd University, junior

1) Have you closely followed other races in the past? How did you first start your political involvement?

"I followed the election in 2004 closely, and also the elections in 2006. As a political science major, this kind of stuff is the cream of the crop. This is where I'm able to exercise my knowledge I've gained at Shepherd to understand such a complex procedure."

2) What do you find compelling about this presidential race?

"Very little. The nonpartisan attitudes of the candidates were quickly eroded and left behind. Both serve to polarize their opposition to the point of what we had in 2004. What is compelling is the sheer number of people who are so passionate about the issues and the state of the Union."

3) Who is your chosen candidate? What drew you to that person?

"I actually haven't made up my mind yet. I'm a conservative Democrat, meaning I'll never find the perfect candidate. I'm in no way a fan of either candidate, and each have their massive shortcomings. I'm leaning (toward) McCain currently, not because I like him, but that I'm reluctant to support Obama's platforms and lack of experience."

4) Have you attended any events at which the candidates delivered an address? Have you participated in the campaign?

I attended the rally that Hillary Clinton had when she came to Shepherd last spring during the heat of the Democratic primaries. I also participated in her West Virginia campaign for a few days leading up to the primary. I'm not a head-over-heels fan of Clinton, but I saw the close primary as a good thing for American democracy in general. It made people really evaluate their votes."

5) What issues do you think most influence young voters?

"Issues that directly influence students. Taxes, abortion, the war in Iraq, and certainly the economy. Students have the most to lose coming out of college into an unstable economy."

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