If high school juniors and seniors want to become an informed electorate, it’s imperative that they do their homework to know what the candidates stand for.
That was the advice given by politicians at a town hall meeting Oct. 3 at Perry Meridian High.
Coordinated by the school’s junior and senior special needs students, the program was designed to get them involved in voter registration and government, said teacher Tim Griffin. “It’s important that they know how to vote and why they should vote.
“Instead of reading from a book I try to make class interesting by developing different techniques to learn about government, and during this election year specifically about our election process. I heard this quote years ago: ‘If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should the way they learn.’ That is the reason for our town hall meeting. My kids have got a lot out of this.”
“Programs like this are great,” said Indianapolis City-County Councilor Aaron Freeman, a candidate for the state Senate. “We are elected to represent you, but we don’t know what you want if you don’t tell us.”
Christina Hale, the only Latino in the Indiana General Assembly and a candidate for lieutenant governor, said many serious issues face the Hoosier state. “One in five kids suffers from hunger, and our infant mortality rate is high. I’m so impressed that you guys are so engaged in politics. You can make a difference. Please remember to dream big. When government looks like the community, we will have a more representative government.”
City-County Councilor Susie Cordi explained the consequences of not voting by saying, “You get what you get when don’t vote.”
Cordi also used the occasion to honor Griffin through a proclamation issued by the council. He was recognized for his many years of teaching special needs students and caring for his foster brother, Mark Palmer, a paraplegic.
Other speakers included former Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson, Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge, Hodge Patel from U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly’s office, Councilor Scott Kreider and Robert Bohannon, assistant superintendent for career preparation of Perry Township Schools, all of whom fielded questions.
“This has been a great open house,” boasted Griffin. “You can bet the third annual one will be held next year.”