Becoming part of the political process

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By Ysabella Pena

Senior April Landi puts a sign in front of her house to show support for three of the school board candidates. Photo by Brand Kroger.

Even though many Cal students cannot vote in today’s election, they are making their voices heard by participating in various campaigns and trying to make an impact on the future of California.

Candidates such as San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson  and former school board member Joan Buchanan, who are running against each other for State Assembly, offer students the opportunity to get active in the political campaigns.

“It’s great to be involved because I’ll be more aware when I am able to vote in two years,” said senior Rachel McAnulty.

Rachel is a volunteer in Buchanan’s re-election campaign. Rachel said she got involved because she enjoys learning about the federal and state government.

“She lets students get involved to reach all parts of the community, especially the students who will eventually be able vote,” Rachel said.

Sophomore Avanti Baronia also began volunteering to see how our country runs.

“It’s an exciting experience to be in the middle of the election, to gain knowledge of politics,” said Avanti, who has volunteered for Congressman Jerry McNerney’s (D – Pleasanton) re-election campaign.

Other volunteers are looking toward a career in politics.

“This gives me a chance to get into the political world at an early age,” said senior Nitin Yenigalla.

Nitin has been one of Wilson’s interns since his freshman year. For this campaign, Wilson asked Nitin to be the head of volunteers and outreach, which organizes sessions to call potential voters and canvass neighborhoods.

He also helped on Wilson’s campaign two years ago when Wilson and Buchanan faced off the first time.

Junior Saundarya Mehra is a part of Wilson’s team because she wants to be involved in the community.

“The team goes to volunteer, acquire donations and just spread the word,” said Saundarya.

History teacher Scott Hodges thinks the more students get involved, the more they’ll feel a part of the process and realize how their country works.

Even students who just wanted to learn more about the process have benefited from their experiences.

“I joined to see if I would be interested and realized it was actually fun,” said sophomore Ashwin Kumar, a volunteer for McNerney, who likes the competitive nature and opportunity to affect others.

Senior Karan Bhatnagar is also campaigning for Wilson.

“I like volunteering for Mayor Wilson because it’s different from what I’m used to doing,” said Karan. “I get to see politicians work, the process, in and outside of the office, and the political drama.”