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October 26, 2012 at 6:13 AM

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Why young voters should care about the governor's race

Editor's note: Sandi Halimuddin is our editorial intern this quarter. She is a senior at the University of Washington.

As a soon-to-be university graduate, I am concerned about the prospect of graduating with mounting student debt. Today, the state pays for 30 percent of public university tuition. The average debt for public and private four-year institution graduates in Washington state is $22,244, according to The Project on Student Debt by The Institute for College Access and Success.

The state’s higher-education model must be reformed to encourage aspiring college students and alleviate the post-graduation student debt that burdens new graduates. Our generation needs a leader to prioritize education by stopping cuts made in the name of balancing the budget and during the upcoming Nov. 6 elections, we will finally have a chance.

It’s hard to ignore the whirlwind of the upcoming elections, as candidates President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney appear on glossy, televised debates and tweet their way to Election Day. But the person who has more influence on our everyday lives is the Washington state governor.

As the executive of our state, the governor is directly involved in our everyday lives by appointing positions, submitting budget recommendations and setting the agenda on issues from transportation to women’s health to job creation in our state.

Jay Inslee, a Democrat and former congressman and Rob McKenna, a Republican and the state's attorney general, are running for the office. These are the factors I'm considering in my decision.

After I graduate in March, armed with a diploma and a heaping amount of student debt, I will march out into the real world and keep my fingers crossed for employment opportunities. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest for eleven years, I believe in the potential of our state; we are well-known for creativity, innovation and excellence.

Yet I am concerned about the 17.8 percent unemployment in Washington state and the 8.8 percent unemployment among young college graduates nationwide in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and The Institute for College Access and Success.

During this time of economic uncertainty, we need our incoming governor to facilitate a diverse and sustainable job market to both reduce unemployment rates and keep the fresh talent and innovation of recent graduates here.

Discourse on the presidential election may overshadow the gubernatorial election, but without active involvement and awareness of this race, we risk not having a say in our future.

The last day to register to vote at the King County Elections Office or the King County Voter Registration Annex is Monday.

Most Popular Comments
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Great editorial! For insight, read Inslee's book and you will vote for McKenna. For... MORE
Sandi, you have managed to tell us who the gubernatorial candidates are and that you... MORE
You're right. The outcome of the governor's race effects us directly, which is why we... MORE

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