Politicians encourage student voter participation

On Oct. 18, 2018, WHS held the Civic Engagement event, in which representatives, local and regional, came and spoke to students. The candidates who attended the event were: candidate Mark Walker, candidate Daniel Didech, trustee Amanda Howland, Wheeling Village president Pat Horcher, candidate Doug Bennet, candidate Karen Horcher, trustee Matt Stanton and state representative Jonathan Carroll.

The event held two different sessions, one during second and third period, and the other during seventh and eight period, each session hosting a different set of candidates. The representatives spoke in a debate-like manner and brought awareness to current political issues, such as gun control and healthcare. The main purpose, though, wasn’t simply to hear representatives debate, but rather alert students of the importance of voting. Many of the candidates at the event spoke of how the voting is one way to truly change the government.

“Voting is how we choose what the government is going to do. If you care about, let’s say, the healthcare system we have, if you care about our roads and our sidewalks and whatever our communities are kept safe, if you care about immigration policy or foreign policy or anything. Everyone had an opportunity to make an impact in those things by voting,” Didech said.

The event also had two different organizations speak, promoting themselves and bringing awareness to their purpose. One of the organizations was the League Of Women Voters, whose mission is to encourage active participation in the government. LWV also held a mock election in the school during all lunch periods. The election intended to educate students of how simple the voting process is.

“If students are not educated in the voting process, every study shows that they won’t vote when they’re old enough to vote,” Heidi Graham, board member of LWV, said.

“The decisions we make today affect you guys down the road. Just like when I was a kid there was decisions made then that are affecting me today. So you guys have to get involved in the process, you guys have to ask the questions, you have to go to people like me and say ‘what the heck are you doing’ and ‘why are you doing this’. Hold us accountable,” Carroll said.