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Young, First-Time Voters Weigh In on the Election

Young voters, like Cris Romero above, are discussing their feelings about the election today at a conference in Seattle. (Courtesy Photo)
Young voters, like Cris Romero above, are discussing their feelings about the election today at a conference in Seattle. (Courtesy Photo)
October 25, 2016

SEATTLE – Young people voting for the first time in this election may never see another presidential faceoff like it again. Today in Seattle at the National Conference on Afterschool and Summer Learning, where the theme is "Dare to Disrupt," young, first-time voters will open up about their feelings toward the election and their hopes for the nation's future.

Cris Romero, a student at Highline College who is part of the "Youth Sparks" panel today, said he isn't deterred by the combative tone of the presidential campaigns.

"It's been quite a ride, but I am excited," he said. "I'm confident that whoever is elected in end will be able to make great and positive changes, as we move on to our next president."

Romero said the issues that concern him include the country's infrastructure, LGBT rights, and immigration. The conference brings together educators and researchers from across the country for three days to discuss the advantages of after-school and summer learning programs for kids.

Romero said he was pursuing a career as a commercial pilot, but after getting involved as a volunteer in local politics, his track may have changed. He said he's met with local politicians, and the election might have swayed him toward a career in public service or politics instead.

Romero explained, "I do think these elections have kind of helped me, inspired me to a fundamental level, in which I can say to myself, 'Wow, well, it takes a lot to run for public office, let alone run for the presidency.'"

The National Summer Learning Association and School's Out Washington are hosting this year's Dare to Disrupt conference, with more than a thousand participants attending. The event includes over 70 sessions, including an opening session with City of Seattle Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA