Jeremy Bourgeois, a senior political science major at the University of New Hampshire, thinks youth need more of a say in the state Legislature, and he isn't waiting for his degree to do it. This November, his name will be on the ballot for state Representative in New Hampshire.
Bourgeois wanted to run because he felt that young people aren't involved in the government as much as they should be. He hoped this decision would inspire others his age to get involved as well.
"I think the youth will bring new, fresh and innovative ideas to the state house," he said.
Bourgeois, 21, has been a resident of Rochester, N.H., for 14 years. If elected, he would represent the town as a Democrat in Concord.
He said the most important issue for him is education. He also cited expanding access to healthcare and protecting the environment as some of his major priorities.
Bourgeois is not the only young person devoting time to making a difference in politics. Other students have taken semesters off to support a particular presidential, congressional or local campaign. Many have taken an active role by joining campus organizations like the College Democrats or Republicans, which promote political events and spread the word about current candidates and their platforms.
"People should care about the political world," said Chris Cavalieri, a junior political science major. "By joining a group like the College Democrats people can take a small step towards making a difference in the community."
Brittany Weaver, president of the UNH College Democrats, believes that the youth will make the difference in this election. "In a swing state like New Hampshire the youth have the same kind of ability they had in 2000, to make sure their voices are heard," said Weaver. "This time I hope they act and go to the polls and vote."
Marla Brettschneider, a professor of political science at the university, agreed youth involvement is vital in a democracy. "Youth have an especially important role to play ... their futures are most at stake," said Brettschneider. "It is crucial for youth to be involved in politics and in the electoral process. They are citizens, and democracy does not work when citizens are complacent."