Mahatma Gandhi once said to be the change we wish to see in the world, and for young people in the United States, they have the opportunity to be that change, by voting.
The Day of Politics event at the Great Hall featured three political figures who are currently pushing their agenda due to the Nov. 6 election. The event also featured three political student groups each who went head to head debating propositions ten and six.
Regardless of the political party being represented, everyone that participated made sure the overall message of being politically active and getting to the voting polls was clear and understood.
Dr. Denise Robb, a political science professor at Pierce and the main organizer of the event, said the overall theme of the fall semester Day of Politics was the Nov. election since the United States has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the entire world.
“You are so lucky to live in a democracy with as many problems that we have,” Robb said. “We have a first amendment, we have a right to speak our mind, we have a right to free press, we have a right to protest and people died for these rights.”
The event kicked off with a debate between Democrat Assemblyman, Jesse Gabriel and his Republican opponent, Justin Clark. Both are running for election, with Gabriel running for reelection, into the 45th assembly district to represent the San Fernando Valley in the state legislature.
Gabriel and Clark seemed to agree on most of the topics of discussion. Issues such as gun control, free education, transgender safety and immigration were brought up.
According to Gabriel’s campaign message, he focuses on issues such as higher education, affordable housing, protecting the environment and climate change.
“I’m standing up to some of the bad stuff that is coming out of the Trump administration,” Gabriel said. “My job is to make sure that California is heading down a different path.”
Proposition 10 is a ballot initiative that would allow cities and counties across the state to expand rent control. In relation to Proposition 10, both candidates had the same stance and were against it, with Gabriel leaning toward being indecisive. According to Robb, Democrats are usually in support of rent control and called it unusual that he did not fully support it.
Gabriel said he is trying to get young people to vote by staying active on Instagram and social media and spreading his message on those platforms.
Marshall Tuck, a candidate for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, was the next guest speaker and he emphasized how he is ready to give the California education system a complete makeover.
“This state has not prioritized our public schools for a long time,” Tuck said. “There are 6.2 million kids that attend public school in California and over 3 million cannot read and write at grade level. That’s a system that is just not working for our kids and unfortunately for our kids, most of them are low income that are struggling.”
Tuck believes in order for the school system to be improved, it needs to be ushered into this new era of technology and become more modernized.
“Our school system is still designed for yesterday,” Tuck said. “There are too many people who see the world as it is and not as it should be. We have to get more people to see how schools should be, where kids will be excited to go to school and thrive in the learning environment.”
Tuck said that he wants young people to get involved in politics because he believes if they do not get involved then things will not change.
“If they want change, which I know what millennials want and what they need and our kids deserve, we need the youth to drive that change,” said Tuck.
The event closed with a student debate between three different political groups consisting of students from Pierce. These groups went head to head debating proposition six and ten.
Proposition six would repeal the gas and diesel tax increases and vehicle fees that were enacted in 2017. Luke Fernandez, a member of the Pierce College Democrats, was against proposition six because he believes it is a threat to public safety.
“Just look at the bridges, the roads and all the potholes,” Fernandez said. “These things need to be repaired. If you vote yes, your basically saying screw that were not going to fix any of that.”
Veronica Galvan, the vice president of Young Americans for Liberty at Pierce College, voted no on proposition ten and thinks it only offers a temporary solution to a bigger problem.
Both Fernandez and Galvan said it is crucial for young people to vote because the change this generation wants to see will not happen if they are not proactive in the voting process.
Tuck said that change comes from the young people and the young people know we need change.
Find out how and where you can vote at https://www.lavote.net/locatorbyaddress, Voting begins Nov. 6 from 7 a.m.- 8 p.m.