Youth unite to oust Repub­li­cans

Stu­dents say the fight isn’t over after help­ing swing Ne­vada

The New Zealand Herald - - News - Natalie Akoorie in the United States Natalie Akoorie is in the US courtesy of the State De­part­ment For­eign Press Cen­ter.

Univer­sity student ac­tivists are happy with the 2018 Midterm elec­tion re­sults in Ne­vada, which all but turned blue un­der Demo­cratic vic­to­ries — but they say the fight isn’t over.

The Univer­sity of Ne­vada Las Ve­gas (UNLV) stu­dents said they used their power in unit­ing the youth vote of Ne­vada to bring down a state se­na­tor who voted for a bill that would re­duce their ac­cess to af­ford­able health­care.

In­cum­bent Se­na­tor Dean Heller, who was dis­patched by Demo­crat Jacky Rosen, last year op­posed his Repub­li­can Party’s ef­fort to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act, say­ing it would harm 210,000 Ne­vadans who re­ceived cov­er­age un­der Oba­macare’s Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion. But he later sup­ported a bill that crit­ics said would re­duce Med­i­caid fund­ing long-term.

Black Lives Mat­ter UNLV pres­i­dent Mi­ca­jah Daniels said Heller’s de­ci­sion di­rectly af­fected her and her 3-year-old son. “I told him how much it meant to me and my son. If my son gets an ear in­fec­tion I’m go­ing to end up in debt or he’s go­ing to end up deaf, and I’m go­ing to take the debt over my son los­ing his abil­ity to hear.

“Our group ac­tu­ally lob­bied with Dean Heller in his of­fice in [Wash­ing­ton] DC and he looked us in our faces and said ‘I will not cut Med­i­caid’.”

With­out health in­sur­ance Daniels can­not take her son to a reg­u­lar GP. It would mean hav­ing to visit a hos­pi­tal and the cost is sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars, plus the pre­scrip­tion.

Daniels said youth,

marginalised and mi­nor­ity vot­ers recog­nised Heller’s change in tack and did not like it.

“He showed that he was not rep­re­sent­ing us so now he doesn’t rep­re­sent us any­more. And that should go for ev­ery politi­cian in our of­fice who wants to run.

“We will hold them ac­count­able. We will show up to their of­fices. They are not just go­ing to get the youth vote — they are go­ing to work for it.”

Daniels said youth were sat­is­fied with the re­sults, with Ne­vada vot­ing into of­fice a Demo­crat se­na­tor, gover­nor, and three out of four seats in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Ne­vada has not had a Demo­crat se­na­tor since 1994 while a Midterms record of 649,000 vot­ers turned out for the swing state.

“A lot of peo­ple are pleased with the re­sults of last night’s elec­tion but the work is not over,” Daniels said.

“A lot of peo­ple are pumped for 2020. We’re ready to . . . keep this mo­men­tum up and we can’t fal­ter for a se­cond.”

Fel­low student ac­tivist or­gan­iser Karl Catarata said youth had the power to mo­bilise like no other gen­er­a­tion be­cause of their use of so­cial me­dia.

In this Midterms the youth vote was at a record high turnout.

We will hold them ac­count­able. We will show up to their of­fices. They are not just go­ing to get the youth vote — they are go­ing to work for it. Mi­ca­jah Daniels

Photo / Natalie Akoorie


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