One to Watch: Young Politicos

Young politicos do their part to encourage young voters to head to the pollsOnes to Watch: Young Politicos

By Jay Christie

It’s that time of the year again – no, not Halloween, but something some people find even scarier – election season. Historically, getting young people out to vote often has proven to be a real fright. However, if Lori Poole and Travis Clinger have anything to say about it, that’s about to change in 2008.

Both Poole, 29, and Clinger, 18, are vital to their respective organizations – she works for the Democrats and he works for the Republican Party. Whatever their political differences, their common goal is encouraging young people to vote.

“It’s really challenging,” says Poole, the new executive director of the Florida Young Democrats. “My role is to centralize our efforts to develop a campaign to increase young Democratic voter turnout. I believe young people are ready to get involved. The stakes are higher than ever, and the youth tend to be the ones ready to kick over the bucket and explore new options.”

Clinger, who serves as state chairman of the Florida Federation of Teenage Republicans, agrees with his counterpart. He believes young people are an incredibly powerful force.

“The youth is the future of the Republican Party and the United States,” says the Titusville native. “The Republican Party has recognized the importance of the youth and provides infinite support for the Teenage Republicans.”

“Young people are viewed as unreliable,” Poole adds. “However, what older people do not have is the time and energy to get out there and really hit the grounds for candidates. By doing so, I think younger voters bring something fresh to the table.”

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