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October 14, 2004

Pete Sessions Doesn't Understand the Concerns of Young Voters

By Byron LaMasters

The latest on the ads in this race here.

Yesterday, Sessions and Frost visited Richardson High School, and Sessions showed that he is completely out of touch with the concerns of young people:

They listened intently to U.S. Reps. Pete Sessions and Martin Frost and questioned them without fear.

In the end, a cross-section of the dozens of Richardson High School seniors who attended a question-and-answer forum with the 32nd Congressional District campaign opponents gave Mr. Frost high marks for addressing the issues concerning them most.

It seemed Mr. Sessions, several students explained, just didn't know how to communicate with 17- and 18-year-old prospective voters.

"He wasn't talking to us; he was talking to the television cameras," Mandi Raz, 17, said of Mr. Sessions. She said she supported Mr. Sessions before Wednesday's forum at the high school. Ms. Raz, who says her chief election-year concerns are financing college and job outsourcing, is now leaning Mr. Frost's way.

The students' major concerns, based on interviews with 15 students representing various economic and ethnic backgrounds, centered on terrorism, college tuition assistance and environmental protection. A majority of the students, some of whom will vote for the first time in November, also cited the reconstitution of a national military draft as one of their primary election-year fears.

Jackie Garza, 17, said she plans to enlist in the Marine Corps next year.

"But I don't feel you should go to war if you don't want to," she said.

Tim Williams, a 17-year-old prospective Air Force recruit, agreed.

Both students said Mr. Frost explained, to their satisfaction, that he'd fight in Congress against a compulsory draft. Mr. Sessions wasn't as convincing, they added.

Smart kids. Seriously, there's three major issues for young people this election. The draft and the war in Iraq, affordable tuitions and opportunities for college, and jobs, jobs, jobs.

Republicans are wrong on all three. When Tim Ryan blasted the Bush administration on the draft, he made a lot of sense. How can we trust the Bush administration not to reinstate a draft when they've essentially begun a backdoor draft through our national guard and reservists - extending tours of duty by six and twelve months?

Here in Texas, Republicans have raised our tuition rates by about 30%, balancing the budget on the backs of students and middle class families. That's a huge issue for young people.

Finally, the Bush adminstration has lost jobs - the first administration to do so since Herbert Hoover. Young people in high school and college are concerned that there won't be well-paying jobs available to use when we graduate, and Republicans have done nothing about it.

Finally, Pete Sessions decided to stress one issue in particular that's a total nonstarter with young people - a national sales tax:

Mr. Frost argued against a federal sales tax that he accused Mr. Sessions of supporting.

"You wouldn't pay $20,000 for a car; you'd pay $26,000," Mr. Frost said.

Young people don't make much money, so we don't pay much income tax. But a national sales tax would hit our pocketbook every time we go to the store. Anyway, there's no surprise that Sessions didn't want to debate.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at October 14, 2004 11:04 AM | TrackBack


I'd say smart Sessions; kids don't vote; people who watch the news on TV do. Talking to the TV was talking to the only voter in the room . . .

Posted by: Keith G at October 15, 2004 05:58 AM

Well yeah Keith, but it also prompts unfavorable stories like this in the local paper that a lot of CD 32 voters do read.

Posted by: Byron L at October 15, 2004 06:04 PM

Yeah, lots of people read the entire paper these days . . . no, if Sessions goes down, its because he was voting for terrorism with his willie hanging out . . . you're swing voter isn;t saying "gee, Pete, why didn't you answer those kids more directly?" No, if they saw anything, it was ten seconds of him addressing big issues . . .

Posted by: Keith G at October 16, 2004 06:51 AM
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