The two Congress phenomenon is the idea denoting that the American public has generally had a "love my congressman, hate the Congress" view. After volunteering for Congressman Pete Stark for the past few weeks, I realized this theory to be true. I saw how approachable and affable he was to any constituent who had a question or wanted to chat. I was entranced by his fiery speeches, his endorsement of the affordable care act, support of marriage equality, and to make sure children have access to a world education. However, Pete Stark explained that unfortunately a part of his job is to endure the gridlock in Congress.
My government teacher and I invited Pete Stark to speak to my We the People class, which is students interested in government. He explained his deep commitment to public service, and by the end of the talk he had every student entranced with his ideals on protecting people's freedoms as human beings and Americans because it is the right thing to do.
However, outside of this classroom I realized that not many of the students walking down the hallways even recognized our congressman. As young voters, are we taking advantage of the opportunities available to us? As college tuition rates begin to skyrocket and some seniors panic over how to pay for their education, many are oblivious to the fact that they can vote and become active participants in politics to help make a difference. As the future of America, we should be taking a more active role in making a difference, because that would be the right thing to do.
Alexandra Perelgos, Fremont
State should promote voting
California's Secretary of State needs to do more for independent voters. Due to redistricting and open primary initiatives, California has a whole new election system. On June 5, all voters can take part, whether they're registered with a political party or not. It is the Secretary of State's important responsibility to promote voter participation, but the somewhat confusing Voter Information Pamphlet by itself is not sufficient. This is especially true for California's 3.6 million independent voters (formerly Decline-To-State, now No Party Preference), many of whom have never participated in primaries before.
We frequently hear professionally produced radio spots promoting the California Lottery. Surely, voter participation is worth the same effort! The Secretary of State's office could be doing this and more. Certainly, a press conference or a series of Public Service Announcements could be easily arranged.
It is in everyone's best interest to maximize voter participation, otherwise democracy suffers with painful results. There have been rapid and significant changes in our voting system and California needs to be doing a better job informing voters, especially independents, about what these changes mean.