A MN Political Party

Republican Don Bacon and Democrat Brad Ashford visit MN

Megan Joyce, Staff Writer

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The day students turn 18, they enter into the political atmosphere and have the ability to become not just observers but civil participators.

On Oct. 25 and 27, students were given the rare opportunity to learn more about local politics firsthand when Congressional candidates Brad Ashford and Don Bacon came to speak in the lecture halls at MN.

The guest speakers were arranged by social studies teacher Lance Ott. A student’s father, the owner of a political consulting company, offered to get Ott in contact with the political handlers of both candidates, and they found days that the candidates were free to come speak.

“When students go to college, and especially start to have families, this government stuff hits you every day, so it’s within your best interest to pay attention to what’s going on and have an opinion one way or another,” Ott said.

The candidates talked about a variety of issues, from gun control to the NFL “take a knee” controversy. Each had varying opinions, but both expressed concern for their family and their country.

“We need to raise the bar of civility in our country. We should be able to debate, and debate is good. Our country is imperfect, and has been imperfect. It’s taken debate, and people bumping each other in the heads to make our country better,” Republican candidate Don Bacon said.

Both politicians seem to agree that efforts need to be made to reach across the political aisle.

“Legislation is usually not black and white. If you’re successful, it’s because you bring people together to find solutions. What your position may or may not be can change depending on the circumstances or what you’re trying to accomplish,” said Democratic candidate Brad Ashford.

This attitude seemed as though it was reflected by the audience too. Although there was a diverse crowd with many opinionated members, the students had thought-provoking yet respectful interactions with their potential future representatives.

“The students’ questions were awesome. Some of these kids were very politically motivated and you can tell by the quality of their questions. They were very hard-hitting but they were also being respectful. They were more respectful of the speakers than some of the adults,” Ott said.

In the contentious political atmosphere, many students are beginning to embrace politics as an important part of their future, and something they should be more conscious of.

“Bacon seemed to know the answers to the questions he was asked. He was very articulate and kept my attention. I asked a couple questions about the benefits for veterans and if any of those are subject to change. I’m interested in enlisting in the military, and I want to know if I’ll still get my benefits,” senior Leah Cleasby said.

At this point in their lives, high school students planning to take different paths are all trying to understand the role that politics will play in the shaping of that path.

“I asked Ashford what the first thing he would of if he was elected president. One of his big things was tuition. I think that’s kind of why young people side with him more. His issues and what he wants to work for are more tailored to what they need in that time period of their life,” said senior Hunter Iske.

A diverse body makes up MN, and the classroom is a place where different ideas and people can converge.

“I’m glad we got both a Democrat and a Republican so we could see both sides. I think politics have a place in the classroom in certain situations. We should be able to debate about them respectfully and have school be a safe environment to do so,” senior Allison Young said.

On Nov. 6, 2018, the people of Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional district will come together to elect a new representative. If you are 18 by then, you can be a part of it too, and add your voice to the ever-changing and constant political discussion.

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A MN Political Party