The upcoming elections are quickly approaching, happening tomorrow on Nov. 8. For all Masuk seniors, this could be your first opportunity to have your voice heard in the Connecticut election, so it’s important for everyone to know the candidates and their stances on the topics that will affect you. The current governor, Democrat Ned Lamont, is running for reelection this season against Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski. A recent poll taken by Quinnipiac University regarding people’s plans for candidate voting shows that Lamont will likely have a strong lead over Stefanowski when the election day comes. Although you may think that the issues they are discussing may not affect you, this is far from the truth. Each of these candidates have their own ideas about many issues in the state, the most impactful to students being education.
Ned Lamont does not have education as a forefront of his campaign, but from his last four years as governor, it is easy to see what he will be continuing if he gets reelected. This past April he rolled out a new math and financial literacy curriculum for grades 6-8 and 6-12 respectively. He also signed into law Public Act 21-2 which requires a more rigorous and age appropriate curriculum for students to take the place of the existing curriculum. Lamont believes that “Connecticut continues to be a leader in public education, and the accessibility and evidence-based nature of these curricula are no exception.”
Stefanowski has a variety of new things that he hopes to implement in education, namely, parental choice, which is at the forefront of his campaign. Some of the ideas that he is proposing include a “parental bill of rights”, the ability for parents to have control over what their children are taught in school, and new rules regarding transgender athletes. He wants parents to have the ability to decide what their children are taught in school regarding sex education, choice in the wearing of masks, and whether students must be vaccinated to attend school. In regards to the new trangender athlete rules that he and his running-mate Laura Devlin plan to implement, Devlin says that “The bottom line is whether or not somebody has taken hormone therapy or not, physiologically, there are differences, biological differences that cannot be changed.” They say that they hope to find a “compromise” to still give these students the ability to compete.
Mrs. Clark, Masuk government and politics teacher, explains why it’s crucial to cast your vote during voting season.
“It’s important for young people to get out to vote, because when you go out into the working world, whether that be at eighteen or after four years or so of education, it is the world that you’re going to be living in, and you have that ability to have a say in it”
Statistically, it is typical for the age group eighteen to twenty-four to have the lowest voter turnout. Clark explains that “Every time that we can politically participate-and there’s a multitude of ways we can politically participate other than voting, it affects our government” By voting, people are able to affect the officials that will represent them, as well as impact the bills and laws that will be passed. Clark includes that in this day and age “We have that ability that we can hold our officials accountable.” We are able to vote for the people that we choose to represent us, but by not voting, we will not always receive the results that we would like. Clark continues to break down the importance of voting: “Our government shapes the world in which we live; so if you’re not going to politically participate, but you don’t like the circumstances, what have you done to prevent that from happening” Clark continued, “We live in a country with very little strings attached to our citizenship. We don’t even make it mandatory that at age 18 everyone is conscripted into the military. But in return for that, we ask that people vote” It’s extremely important for people, especially in this age category, to get out and vote, in order to make the voice of the younger generations heard. Even so, students at Masuk that may not be eligible to vote due to their age, can still politically participate. These students can contribute to a politician’s campaign, write to their senators or representatives, write a letter to the president, join an interest group, or go to town hall meetings held by politicians. No matter what your age is, and whether you can make your opinions known through the typical method of voting, there is always a way to have your voice heard politically.
Libby McHugh, a senior, also expressed how important it is that people vote. She says that
“People often feel like their vote won’t make a difference, as their ballot is just one of the millions filled out every Election Day. However, every vote truly does count. We’ve seen candidates win by a miniscule number of votes, which makes it even more important to make your voice heard. Everyone at Masuk who is eligible needs to vote on Tuesday!”
She shares that she plans to vote on Tuesday with her family, and has done plenty of research on the candidates she has the option of voting for, and encourages others to do the same.
Although many individuals have given their opinions on the different running stances of the candidates, no opinion will be identical to yours. I encourage you to research the potential governors and their campaigns further, and learn more about their stances on other issues and topics that may affect you, in order to be sure of your positions. It is important for Masuk students with the ability to vote to do so, ensuring that your voices are heard in this important upcoming election.