BY BRANDEN HOPPER
Student government president Atticus Reyes wants you— to get out and vote. Reyes, who spent three months in Washington D.C. as a congressional intern before running for office at CI, hopes to bring the lessons and skills he learned in the national capital to his role on campus.
In November, to vote for candidates for the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Midterm elections are held every four years in November. 33 Senators will be up for re-election in November, according to USA Today. Leading up to the midterm elections Reyes and his office will be initiating a voter registration event in October to encourage people to register.
“Public participation in government is really low right now,” said Reyes.
Only 48.3 % of college students made it to the polls during the 2016 election, according to a study by Tufts University. Even though this is an increase from the 2012 elections, Reyes thinks college students can do better and laments how many times young people are viewed as politically apathetic and disagrees with the sentiment.
People look at the younger generations as not caring,” said Reyes. “I don’t think we’re getting enough credit.”
It’s easy enough for Reyes to understand where the point of view comes from but his office is determined to redirect those feelings of frustration or anger into political engagement.
“How do we make sure we’re productive with that anger,” said Reyes. “Instead of shooting down populations that are trying to become more active?”
Reyes promotes bi-partisanship and believes that a student’s political opinions are less important than their participation. During the voter registration event his office plans to convey this attitude to student’s in an effort to create a sense of community around political issues, one that doesn’t exclude people for having different opinions. Reyes plans to organize some of his Washington D.C. contacts to speak at the event.
“We’re going to be bringing them out to talk about, what’s the importance of civic engagement from a bi-partisan perspective,” said Reyes. “We’re not talking about your platform, but talking about what are student’s experiencing and how do we channel that into actual participation?”
Reyes believes fully that a functioning democracy requires active participation. During his time in the national capital he made keen observations about political involvement and bi-partisanship’s role in changing policy.
“D.C has its own schedule. If people have an opinion or want to interject that’s great, but it’s going to keep running down its track,” said Reyes. “The only way to change that is get people onto the train that want to change the track.”