Though possibly not as epochal a moment as many Republican candidates would like you to believe, many decisions that greatly affect our generation will be made in the coming legislative sessions in Washington and state capitols across the country. In light of this, it is vital that we work to elect candidates that will stand up for our best interests.
Across the country, literally hundreds of truly excellent candidates are running in this important election, but only a select few are candidates with a track record of fighting for students. The candidates included in this article have varying backgrounds, but are all the same in that they will fight for us and our future once elected to the office that they are running for. The candidates are listed below in no particular order.
Shelli Yoder - United States House of Representatives, Indiana's 9th District
Among a crowded primary field of five excellent candidates, Ms. Yoder stands out as a visionary leader who fights for students. Currently serving as Associate Director of Professional Development for Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, her record of fighting for youth extends well beyond her current position. Fresh from leading a statewide commission on eating disorder awareness, Ms. Yoder has also served as director of a shelter for at-risk youth.
Christie Vilsack - United States House of Representatives, Iowa's 4th District
Wife to United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Ms. Vilsack previously served as First Lady of Iowa. As first lady, Ms. Vilsack pioneered literacy programs across the state that have directly impacted our generation. Having taught middle school for 18 years, Ms. Vilsack's commitment to education shines through in her congressional campaign as she highlights the need for stronger schools nationwide. We can be certain that ensuring a world-class education for all American children will be one of Ms. Vilsack's top priorities if elected, and her experience with rural communities will help schools and communities that are often overlooked by Washington.
Gary Latanich - United States House of Representatives, Arkansas's 1st District
As a professor of economics at Arkansas State University, Dr. Latanich has unique insights into both the economy and the views and needs of students. Hailing from one of the poorest congressional districts in the nation (covering a portion of the Mississippi River Delta region), Dr. Latanich also provides a needed focus on some of the Americans that are both the most often forgotten and in the most need. Mr. Latanich's willingness to involve students in his campaign has been truly remarkable, even employing high school students as staffers and involving them in the campaign planning process.
Tammy Duckworth - United States House of Representatives, Illinois's 8th District
Though not the only veteran on this list, Ms. Duckworth's service to our country is quite remarkable and reveals the strength and fortitude of her character. One of the first American women to fly combat missions, Ms. Duckworth, lost both of her legs when the Blackhawk helicopter she was piloting was shot down over Iraq in November 2004. Despite this challenge, she has persevered and overcome. In January 2009, President Obama appointed Ms. Duckworth as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, where she served until resigning last June. Ms. Duckworth truly is an inspiration and role model, and will work for all of us in congress.
Elizabeth Warren - United States Senate, Massachusetts
Known nationally for her campaign for the creation of the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Ms. Warren is a Harvard Law School professor. Though her job puts her in a position to know the needs of students better than other candidates, it is her work on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that makes her stand out. This new bureau, and the laws that accompany it, will directly affect us for the better by protecting all Americans from predatory lending practices and inordinately high interest rates that often targeted students and youth.
Senator Sherrod Brown - United States Senate, Ohio
Senator Brown deserves special recognition for being one of America's strongest fighters for the middle class and rural communities. Coming from a rust-belt state, Senator Brown recognized many of the problems that our nation faced and worked to solve them even before they garnered national attention. One of the strongest fighters in the senate for better access to healthcare, Senator Brown's efforts have resulted in extended insurance coverage to more than 2.5 million young people and extra healthcare safeguards for all Americans.
Senator Amy Klobuchar - United States Senate, Minnesota
Senator Klobuchar, though only just completing her first term as a United State Senator from Minnesota, is the senior senator from Minnesota. Prior to being elected to her current position, Senator Klobuchar served as Hennepin County prosecutor, where she fought to put away predators, violent offenders and career criminals. Her groundbreaking safe schools programs and initiatives earned her awards from the United State Department of Justice. She is also the recipient of a leadership award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving for her successful work on making "driving while intoxicated" a felony. Both the daughter of a teacher and mother of a teenager, Senator Klobuchar has been one of the fiercest advocates in the Senate for sustainable and real education reform.
Asher Heimermann - Wisconsin State Assembly-District 26
Asher stands out because he is a high school student himself. Attending public school in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Asher has seen and experienced the problems we face firsthand and will bring a unique perspective to the statehouse in Madison. Running against an incumbent with a bad track record on fighting for young people, Asher will bring our voice to the capitol and has the potential to change the way politicians look at our generation.
There are many excellent candidates running in this election, but the above eight will be fierce advocates for youth. Please consider supporting them in any way you can. As always, do your own research, make your own decisions, and always ensure you're supporting candidates who will support youth.