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Path to the Presidency: What issues matter to you?

Oct. 31, 2012

By John Vettese and Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writers

The presidential debates are over, and next week, the nation’s voters will elect the next president of the United States.

When you go into the voting booth to make your choice, how do you make your decision? As a first-time voter, many thoughts may go through your mind about the candidates. But what is this election really about?

The presidential election is about more than just the candidates’ backgrounds and personalities; it is about their viewpoints and ideas – their positions on the issues.

Many citizens cast their votes based on the issues – items of public concern relating to government policy, both domestic and foreign. What is government policy? It usually refers to a government’s laws or guidelines for how the government enforces those laws. But through the lens of the election, issues also refer to candidates’ different outlooks on how those laws should be shaped.

Here are some of the major issues:

Economy and taxes: With unemployment hovering around 8 percent and a growing deficit, these are dominant issues in this campaign. The candidates differ on several areas.

President Obama argues that the tax rate should increase for the wealthiest Americans but wants to keep Bush tax cuts for those earning $250,000 or less. Obama states that a recent drop in the unemployment rate is sign that the economy is on the rebound. His policy calls for tougher regulations on the financial industry. When Obama became president, the country was in a severe fiscal crisis. He says the economic recovery will take several years.

Gov. Mitt Romney argues for an across-the-board tax cut and the closure of many loopholes. He says the tax cut will promote economic growth. Government spending should be reduced, including funding cuts for programs considered nonvital or inefficient. Regulations, especially in the investment sector, should be reduced to help the economy grow, he says.

Education: Obama has the benefit of four years of policy, which includes increasing access to preschool, offering increased funding for schools with innovative education approaches and increased funding for improvements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. While not shuttering the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, which requires that all students meet reading and math adequacy marks by 2014, the president has allowed states to waive the punitive standards if the state adopts approved reform measures.

Romney wants to do away with the No Child Left Behind Act and adopt what his campaign calls a “straightforward public report card” that will assess schools’ performance. Romney has said he wants to expand the role of education to the states. He has called for plans to try to attract and retain the best teachers and remove those who are ineffective. Romney also says parents should have a wider choice in where their children attend school.

Health care: Obama wants to see the final provisions of his 2010 federal health care law, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, take effect. Some of the reforms won’t be in place until 2014 and beyond. Now, parents can keep their children on their insurance plans until they are 26 and new insurance coverage options are available to individuals who have been uninsured for at least six months because of a preexisting condition.

Romney wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He says that it is an example of the federal government having too much power because it places a mandate on all Americans to get health insurance. Instead, he says each state should pass its own health care plan tailored to its residents.

Decide and vote!

Don’t take our word for it, do your own reading on the issues that matter to you! Don’t just look at one source, either; study a variety of viewpoints on the issues facing the next president, and the policies proposed to deal with them.

What do you think?

How important are these issues to you in deciding whom to support for president? Which of these issues affect you the most? Which concern you the least? Are there other issues that will influence your decision? Are there issues that the candidates have not discussed that you want to hear more about? Join the discussion!

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Rudyard. MT
Mrs.Campbell. Northstar
There is a lot of matters out there that matter to me .Like who gets voted for president or what bills are getting voted for that will change the future for me and my child future when I have kids. I want better live for the future child out there in the USA. So yes there are a lot of matters out there.

These issues are important in deciding whom to support for president. The economy and education topics affect my decision the most.

Being a high school senior and getting ready to head out to college next year, I'm most concerned with education and the economy. If the economy won't be improved by the time I graduate from college then odds are I won't find a career related to my major, making that money spent worthless. Also, in terms of education and the no child left behind act, it would be unfair and unconstitutional to not offer the same opportunities to every American child. If acts that aid children in getting and education were to be repealed, there would be social unrest and an even deeper resentment toward the government.

Porterville, CA
Of course these issues are important when pertaining to who I support for president. Anyone who votes without at least considering these issues shouldn't be voting (but that's a different topic). The economy and foreign policy affect my decision the most while education makes the least impact.

Miss Colby/BHCS
I think that issue that matter to me is paying for college. In my opinion, it is really expensive to get a higher education. A lot of teenagers don't go to colleges because they don't have enough money to pay. I think that higher education should be cheaper because almost everyone in the country wants to go to college. People cannot allow themselves to go to the college because of the shortage of money. It is important to the whole country to have more educated people, that's why I think the education in the college should be cheaper.

A few weeks ago I conducted a survey of this very question to 50 people, 25 males, 25 females. At the end of my survey, I found out that the three most important issues turned out to be the Economy, the Foreign Policy, and Health care. Many people are influencing their vote because of the stand the candidates have on these three issues. I agree that these are the most important issues and one should truly based their vote on the person they believe has a plan to fix these issues. One should not just think “oh this person seems like he knows what he is doing”. Instead, one should actually hear the plan they have, meditate on it, and come to a conclusion on how successful the plan is. The person the voters choose should not only have a plan for the main issues, but also for the minors ones like, taken from my survey, gay rights, retirement, and the environment. Even thought I am not capable to vote because of my age, the person's view on every issue that affects us will influence my vote greatly.

Daniela R
A big concern to me, and probably most teenagers my age, is the issue over the financial burdens that come with going to college. An issue that concerns me the least would probably be that of foreign affairs, not because I don't care but because I am too young to make a difference or do anything about that. Another issue that would influence my decision would probably be education. Especially high school education. I will be graduating this year, but my sisters still have three more years left.

One of the issues that concern me the most is Gay marriage. In my opinion, it should be allowed. If you truley love someone, I don't understand why it's a problem who you marry, be it a man or a woman. The issue that concerns me the least right now is the issue with Social Security. The way I look at it is that I'm only 17 years old. It will be a while before Social Sercurity really even matters to me.

Sandra C.
These issues are very important to me. Some issues may not affect me right so much now, but one day they will. Healthcare affects me the most. None of them concern me the least because they are all of great important. I would like to hear more about the different viewpoints over immigration.

Irving Texas
Frankie R
Bradley Nimitz
These issues are very important. Most everyone is just looking at it as two candidates running for presidency, but that's that the case at all. Of the tree issues listed Economy and Taxes would be what most effects me. Our foreign policy wan't mentioned, and is a big deal. I wanted to know each candidates views on immigrants, laws being passed, and equal rights.

Irving, TX
Sandra E.
The issues are very important for whom i am going to elect as president of the United States because it shows what action each candidate is going to choose once they have been elected. The Health Care and the Economic issue affect me the most. The education issue concerns me the least. I didn't get to hear much about the executive order to stop deportation of children of illegal immigrants issue. I would like to know what the candidates decision and opinions are regarding this topic because its affecting my future as of now and will later. The changes they will make will definitely affect who i am electing this year and who i want to see become the President of the United States.

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