As the Illinois primary election draws closer, college students are preparing to cast their votes. Some for the first time. As part of our series, "You're the Boss," we asked several NIU voters at campus voter registration events about their most important issues in the election, and what questions they would ask candidates and current officeholders directly if they had the chance. Here's what they had to say:
Salvador Meza, electrical and computer engineering major, Chicago
“Well, on a national level, there seems to be a lot of division within the country. It would be nice to have a candidate that can united on both sides, see both sides of the matter. That would be the primary thing. Definitely immigration. Right now immigration is a big thing for me at least. On the state level, definitely taxes. Taxes need to get a little bit sorted on what’s going on, but what’s new in Illinois, right?”
“I’d definitely ask them what would be their plan for immigration for not only the DACA students, but for the other 12 million immigrants who’ve been here 10-20+ years raising their families. What are they going to do about them? Are they just going to help the DACA students and help people who have spent a good portion of their lives here raising their kids, seeing them to get a better future? Are they just going to be left behind or is there going to be some immigration reform for them because what are they going to do to change that?"
Alexandra Shuman, psychology major, Lake Zurich
"Overall, job and economy issues, making sure that there are enough jobs for everybody as well as the issue of minimum wage to make it at least $15 an hour. Gun control is also more of a personal issue for me, as well as being a student.”
“I just want to know what their opinion of our youth is. My general generation, such as Generation Z. My sister just turned 18, so her whole graduating class is about to start voting. They don’t understand a lot what goes into the election process. So it would be interesting to know, especially the Democratic candidates, who are significantly older than us, how they view us as the youth of America.”
Daliha Oroczo, history, Elgin
"Immigration, gun law, and education."
Jeremy Jordan, law, Waukegan
“At the national level, definitely my main issue is the environment. Huge supporter of the green new deal, huge supporter of the candidates who are extremely progressive. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. At the state level, mainly J.B. Pritzker following through on a lot of his campaign promises. He’s been very great so far since he’s been in office, and hopefully he just keeps it up.”
“Hopefully, if I could sit down with J.B. Pritzker, I would really like to know how his environmental plans are going to be playing out, hopefully after he’s out of office. I don’t want him to put something in, get something passed through the house, and sign a bill that’s just going to be overturned by a pro-business governor or a pro-business legislature.”
Luke Carlson, law, Rockford
“Illinois specifically, it’s probably the pension problem, the pension crisis. I don’t know if you’d call it a crisis, but the ongoing pension problem. Nationally, I don’t know, but it’s complicated."
"So, local candidate, I’d probably be asking, well local and state would be specifically about pension, just cause it’s like a hydra that’s slowly eating up every budget in Illinois and just growing and growing. It pretty much will require a constitutional amendment to fix it, so knowing where they stand on that would be pretty informative.”
In 2020, YOU’RE the boss at the ballot box. This year, we’ll be listening as you share what issues are important to you and what you want candidates to know about your community. You're the Boss is a collaboration with Illinois Newspapers of the USA Today Network. Additional support comes from a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network