President Barack Obama wins a second term with 303 electoral votes over Romney at 206, and Kathryn PeÃ±a, President of the Saddleback Young Democrats Club, is relieved for college students everywhere.
The Young Democrats Club supported Obama because he is a “strong advocate for education,” PeÃ±a said. Also, Obama supports “women in terms of equal pay and also for reproductive rights as well as the LGBT communities.”
The Young Democrats also supported Irvine’s current mayor, Sukhee Kang, in the Mission Viejo race for Congress. Kang spoke at Saddleback College on Tuesday, Oct. 30 and they want him in office because “We need to take back democratic control of congress because of the lack of changes in the last two years [due to] Republican Party obstruction,” PeÃ±a added. “Sukhee Kang has a history of working with both parties to achieve results.” Kang lost his race for the U.S. representative for the 45th District to John Campbell by a 40.5 to 59.5 percent of the vote.
The Young Democrats supported Prop 30 which stops $6 billion in budget cuts to education. Current state schools are significantly impacted and classes are being dropped because of budget cuts and “a student is lucky to transfer within two years,” PeÃ±a said.
Prop 30 also increases income tax on people who earn over $250,000 per year for a period of seven years and includes a sales tax increase of one-quarter cent for four years.
What concerned PeÃ±a about Romney becoming president is that he wanted to make “cuts to education and veterans benefits.” Also Romney’s plan to eliminate Planned Parenthood also didn’t sit well with the Young Democrats: “a lot of women and men depend on Planned Parenthood,” PeÃ±a said.
Chugi Takahashi, student and Young Democrat Club member, said that Romney would be a bad idea right now because he doesn’t sound like someone who will deliver on his promises and that he intends to lower taxes on the rich and will “keep us getting deeper in debt … like in the George Bush times.”
What students tend to agree on is that it is a bad time to change leadership and that we want the middle class to come back and have a better chance and, “Obama has a good plan for this,” said Takahashi.
Saddleback student Adrian Hernandez, a Young Democrat’s Club member, is a veteran who served in Iraq and didn’t like what he saw there. He felt that something “wasn’t right,” so he eventually left the military. One of the reasons he is voting for Obama is because, “he said he would end the war in Iraq and he did.”
Hernandez isn’t interested in “funding useless wars,” and says that Obama’s “ideologies” coincide with his. Hernandez also likes the fact that Obama acknowledges climate change. “That’s a plus,” he said.
Hernandez’s biggest concern about Romney getting elected was that there could be an “explosion of violence” because not enough programs are available to help people in need. He was also concerned about environmental issues such as more drilling and the fact that a lot of Republicans won’t even acknowledge that climate change exists.
Like a lot of students, Hernandez’s biggest concern is education. “Not everybody wants a degree,” Hernandez said. Students want to take classes that are applicable to getting a job or learn a skill that will help them earn a living in the future. “We need to take a long, hard look at how we are teaching kids and what we are trying to accomplish,” Hernandez said.
More people are becoming aware of the disparity in student’s education and the current demand for technical skills in the job market.
Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft, never finished college but his foundation has made education a primary mission. Grants are now awarded to people who want to correct the current problems with higher education that keep kids from graduating on time. According to the foundation website, www.gatesfoundation.org, Gates stresses that teachers are critical to student achievement.
As a result, the foundation invests in research and reform efforts to discover what makes a teacher more effective. In addition, they promote clear and consistent standards that help teachers identify student learning gaps.
On a local Orange County level, Tim Jemal, a first-time candidate in the race to become a member of the Board of Trustees in the South Orange County Community District (SOCCCD) states on his website that he supports “quality education for transfer, professional and vocational students.” He also supports the Emeritus Program for life-long learning.
Contacted after his win on Tuesday, Jemal said, “I will focus on developing meaningful partnerships between our community colleges and the county’s most innovative technology firms. My goal is for our community colleges to stay ahead of industry trends and deliver training and education programs most needed to secure good-paying jobs in the local economy. We should strive to build long-term partnerships with key growth sectors of the Orange County economy, including technology and health care, which require some level of higher education or certificate training.”
Kate PeÃ±a, Saddleback College Young Democrats President firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Jemal can be found at http://timjemalfortrustee.com/