Pizza And Politics

With a full-time 40 hour (or 60? or 90?) workweek, there is little or no “spare” time. Kids, both children and teenagers, however grand or great, complicate our lives in the nicest of ways – but the more people in the household the less time is available for outside activity. With the addition of holiday events, December was a blur. Now, it is time to re-enter the “real” world.

Twenty-twenty encompasses a presidential election like no other. The investigation of the current White House resident and the intervention, invited or uninvited, of foreign influence into our internal affairs, makes it ever more critical that we exercise our personal rights as citizens. It does not matter which side of which question your opinion falls upon. We, as adults, as parents, as mentors, as role models, must participate. Not voting is abstaining from the decision and handing it over to – who? – to decide.

In many ways, the Estes Valley Junior Election Program strives to encourage our younger citizens to participate in and be aware of life outside of their immediate concerns. By November, nearly 10% of the current students will be voter eligible adults. As in all things, practice hones skills. The time to practice is now!

On October 2nd, our young residents met with elected officials for the State of Colorado. They lined up – filling both aisles of the high school auditorium – to ask Dave Young (Colorado State Treasurer) and Perry Buck (Representative for District 49) their questions. However, that is only one type of event hosted by Junior Election.

Students in the Estes Park Middle School and High School participated in this year’s October event. However, our young Estes Valley residents are all invited to vote in Junior Elections. The only requirement to practice vote is residency within the Estes Valley and to fall within the age-groups for Grades K-12. The voting takes place not only in the Estes Park Schools, but also at the Estes Valley Library and at the EVPRD Community Center. Students enrolled in on-line schools or the EPSD Options Program, members of the Homeschool Network, Estes Valley Residents who attend Front Range Schools, and virtually all other forms of alternative education are encouraged to contribute to the practice vote. The next opportunity is the April 7 Election of Town Trustees and Mayor of Estes Park.

Of course, since we hold Junior Elections, it is imperative that the Junior Voters have an opportunity to form an educated opinion about who (and what) to vote for. Therefore, Junior Election will also host a Trustee (and Mayor) Candidate Forum sometime in March. All Estes residents, ages 5-17, grades K-12, are invited to participate in questioning the candidates.

Perhaps the most popular event of the year is the January “Pizza and Politics” dinner with the Estes Park Board of Trustees. This is the opportunity for you, the student, to ask direct questions and to impress upon individual Trustees what you foresee as the future of Estes Park. Watch this newspaper, or contact juniorelection@signsandwishes.com for more information.

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