WHS students meet VP

Downtown Portland rally is an 'up close and personal' look at how politics work

There is still an opportunity for those who are not registered to vote to do so in time for the Nov. 4 General Election. The deadline for in-person registration at the Clark County Elections Office, 1408 Franklin St., in Vancouver, is Monday, Oct. 27. For more information, visit www.sos.wa.gov/elections/.

There is still an opportunity for those who are not registered to vote to do so in time for the Nov. 4 General Election. The deadline for in-person registration at the Clark County Elections Office, 1408 Franklin St., in Vancouver, is Monday, Oct. 27. For more information, visit www.sos.wa.gov/elections/.

Washougal High School students were provided the chance to get up close and personal with state and national leaders at a recent Portland political rally.

The event was organized to support the re-election campaign for Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley. According to Jim Reed, WHS Advanced Placement government and contemporary world problems teacher, his goal was for the students to experience the ins and outs of politics.

“This field trip was not about voting Democrat or Republican, but rather to get a feel for the campaign process and their techniques,” Reed said.

“It was a very successful field trip,” he continued. “The students were able to see firsthand how the campaigning process works.”

Students got to see and hear from political figures such as Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, various congressional leaders, Merkley and Vice President Joe Biden.

“This experience has really made me excited to vote,” said WHS senior, Brandon Rotundo. “I can’t wait to be 18. I will need to know the issues and start picking sides.”

The experience began with a two hour wait to get in to the rally. During that time, students were able to hear conversations with some attendees as to why they were there and the issues they were representing.

They also saw groups of protestors on a variety of issues from the Israel-Palestine Conflict to legalization of marijuana. “Both parties are interested in the younger vote,” Reed said.

Once inside the rally, the group was invited to the main floor VIP area where they had many campaign messages for young voters directed at them.

“The rally was very exciting and very enlightening,” said WHS senior Seth Foster. “You came away with a better understanding of the campaign process. Rallies are very different from campaign TV ads. You could see how they set things up to appeal to the audience to get the right vibe.”

“I really feel now that my vote will matter,” said WHS senior Emma Boyle. “It will be exciting for me to have my vote make a difference.”

Boyle was also impressed with Biden’s ease using technology. “I must say, for a man in his 70s, he is very good at taking ‘selfies’ with people. He was very efficient.”

According to Reed, the students will follow up by watching the results of congressional races and state initiatives. They will also participate in a Washington State election for students at the end of the month through the Washington Secretary of State’s office.

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