I’ve lived in Austin for 25 years with my amazingly supportive family--my husband, John, and our two sons, Eamon and Charlie.
My older son was born when I was on the Austin City Council, and I retired from office shortly after. This past winter break, Eamon turned 18. While he may not fully appreciate it, one of the greatest birthday gifts he received is the privilege to vote. And the first election he’ll be able to vote in will be mine.
Now, you might think I’d automatically have his vote? I mean--notwithstanding the fact that I truly believe I’m the most qualified candidate for Travis County Commissioner with a proven record of getting results--I’m his MOM!
I asked him anyway if he’d vote for me, just to be certain. His response? “Well, what are you going to do for me?”
What are you going to do for me?
Which tells me John and I raised a smart kid. Because, as ungrateful as "What are you going to do for me?" may sound, it is THE question our young people should be asking of candidates. Sadly, many of them aren’t.
When I run across a younger voter, I make a point of asking them, “Do you like having other people make your choices for you? If not, then vote!”
Long-time local community activist and leader, Paul Saldaña, and I are working together on a mentoring initiative to help young people learn how to exercise their civic power. We want to inspire a movement for voter participation among the youth in Travis County. According to the 2010 Census, about 153,000 of the 1 million-plus Travis County residents are 18 to 24 years old. That’s a lot of voting power just waiting to be harnessed! However, according to Travis County records, only about 35,000 voters 18 to 25 years old voted in the 2012 general election.
We need your help to rally the youth vote. We challenge you to take a young person under your wing and take them to the polls to vote. Make a big deal of it! Take a picture and have them share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Then add it to our campaign facebook page to encourage others.
And when you rally the young people in your life who are eligible to vote, don’t stop at the March 2014 primary or the November 2014 general election. Keep it going! Continue to encourage them to exercise their privilege to vote so it can become a life-long habit.
I’m looking forward to snapping and sharing a photo of my son proudly sporting his “I Voted” sticker. Stay tuned to voteforbrigid.com for more information and click here for ways you can volunteer or contribute to my campaign.
Thank you for reading!