Eugene Young Voters Open Up (Finally!)

Young voters speak on which presidential candidate they might vote for and issues important to them

If there’s one segment of the Eugene voter population that has proven hard to reach, it’s been young voters. Most were in a rush (let’s work on that time-management, y’all) or had headphones in. Some politely declined, while others simply pretended nobody had just tried to get their attention.

But Eugene Weekly persisted, approaching people with a simple question:  “If the presidential election were held today, who would you vote for, and why?”

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Marek Belko

Photo by Colin Houck

Marek Belka, 27
Freelance journalist

I’m leaning toward Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. Those would be my top two. Probably Warren, honestly. I think she’s the smartest person running. She’s the only one presenting real ideas and policy stuff. You know, like that meme “she’s got a plan for that.” People make jokes about that, but she’s putting it out there: “This is where I stand on this.”

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Brian Grosklos, 51
Architect

I would vote for Elizabeth Warren. Why? I’ve liked her for a long time. She’s good with her policies. She’s not just saying stuff. She’s intelligent, she’s compassionate. The issues she’s focused on are the ones I care about, like equality, the climate and environment, anti-corporate giveaways. Well, the whole 1 percent versus the 99 percent argument she gives.

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Ruby Joy Garcia, 23
Crisis counselor

Well, it wouldn’t be Trump, and it wouldn’t be a Republican. Probably Bernie Sanders because I just think his views and how the youth are viewing him right now are really powerful. And I think that he represents a lot of the change that folks from my generation want to see today. I think that with everything that’s been going on and the amount of violence we’ve seen and just a general awareness of the ideals of the United States and the white supremacy that runs rampant here, Bernie brings an awareness to that and is open to having those difficult conversations.

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Alexander Muvua, 30
Graduate student, naturalized citizen from the Republic of Kenya

I cannot wait to see a feminine president. And frankly, Hillary, a lot of people see her as just as evil as most of the males, and I didn’t even know that. But I really, really look forward to seeing a female president because to me it’s the exact same thing as having a colored president. The way people reacted to that? Powerful. So, if what they’re selling, if I feel like buying it, even if I like Bernie or Biden, I’m going to vote for one of the women.

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Henry Gates, 24
U.S. Coast Guardsman

I’d go for Warren because she’s not afraid to stand up to the powerful political interest groups like big oil and big banking. She seems to have a plan for just about everything. And I like the way she fights and has fought in the Senate the past few years, holding powerful people to account.

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Laura Fullerton, 18
Student

Elizabeth Warren. First of all, I support a woman in office. Second of all, I think that she has a really wonderful balance of political expertise and political history, and also a lot of care for people and love in her heart. And so those are two things I want. I don’t want someone who’s just on the political side and very strategic without a lot of empathy, and I think she has both.

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Hailee Winsco, 25
Teacher

Bernie Sanders. I just think he’s shown his dedication. He’s been working for a really long time in politics and I think he knows what he’s talking about. I like his persistence and I really like his positions on healthcare and education.

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Elena Winsco, 28
Research assistant

I’m also for Bernie. I believe he wants to fix the broken system. I hope he wants to fix the system. I’m a fan of his ideas about reducing college debt. I think he’s looking after the next generation. Instead of the old farts that are already in there. So yeah, that’s how I think I’d vote if it were held today.