Voting assembly brings politicians to Sequoia

Nick Abraham, Opinion Editor

My hope is that we can expose our young people to the role of local governments.

— Kevin Mullin, California Assembly Member

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Assembly member Kevin Mullin visited Carrington Hall Sept. 26 to celebrate Voter Registration Day.

The main goal of the assembly was to encourage 16 and 17-year-old students to pre-register to vote, allowing them to be automatically registered once they are eligible.

“If we can pre-register, that [gives students] one less thing to worry about when [they] turn 18. Once you’re on the list, you’re going to start getting all the information [about upcoming elections],” Padilla said.

The event was hosted by senior Dez Frazier, who presented the speakers and moderated the question and answer session that followed Padilla’s speech. Topics such as racism and racial representation, gerrymandering and voter suppression were discussed.

Both Padilla and Mullin commended Sequoia’s Voter Hall of Fame, which is showcased in the main hallway near the College and Career Center.

“The fact that [Sequoia has] a Voter Hall of Fame alone shows that this school values the role of young people in the political process,” Mullin said.

One of the most pertinent issues Padilla discussed with students was the cost of higher education. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, funding for higher education—the UC, CSU, and community college systems—has fallen from 18 to 12 percent of the state budget in the last 40 years.

“The [state] legislature actually has more of a say in funding for the UCs, the CSUs and the community colleges than our members in Congress do,” Padilla said.

History and government teacher Ashley Gray was also commended by the speakers for organizing the assembly and continually encouraging his students to vote on all levels and on all issues, from local to state to national elections.

“My hope is that we can expose our young people to the role of local governments, like city councils and school boards, which make decisions that affect [students’] lives on a regular basis,” Mullin said.

In accordance with National Voter Registration Day, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla visited Sequoia’s own Carrington Hall to discuss the importance of voting, among other politically based topics, with future Sequoia voters. Photo by Aviva Futornick
Photo by Aviva Futornick