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Gonzales wants 30 students on bus to Lincoln Oct. 8
Erik Dodge
Antelope Staff
Photo by Erik Dodge
Jordan Gonzales is part of The Secretary of States College Student Advisory Committee. The committee and Secretary of State John Gale coordinated a Civic Engagement Symposium to encourage college students to vote in the Nov. 2 general elections.

Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale and Student Senate Speaker Jordan Gonzales want you to vote, and they are willing to drive you to Lincoln and buy you lunch to make it happen.

The 2010 Nebraska Civic Engagement Symposium “Democracy in a New Millennium” will be held on Oct. 8. Gale and the Secretary of State’s College Student Advisory Committee coordinated the nonpartisan event. Gonzales is a member of the advisory committee.

“We want to encourage the students to be active citizens at all levels,” Gale said in a press release. “This includes voting, performing community service, becoming community leaders and holding public office.”

The Secretary of State will be chartering a bus for 30 UNK students to attend the event according to Gonzales. The event will open with a luncheon at the Nebraska Club on the 20th floor of the U.S. Bank Building in Lincoln, and the symposium will be held in the Warner Chamber on the second floor of the Nebraska State Capitol building. It aims to get more students to the polls for the Nov. 2 general elections.

Midterm elections, like the one this year, occur in years there is no presidential election and tend to have lower turnout rates. Gonzales said it is troubling that most of Nebraska’s state and county elections occur during midterm elections when voter turnout is low.

Nebraska’s three members of the House of Representatives, governor, treasurer, Board of Regents members and other state officers will be up for election according to the 2010 candidate list on Nebraska government website.   

University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken will give the keynote address at the luncheon. Gale, Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Heavican, State Auditor Mike Foley and Clerk of the Legislature Patrick O’Donnell will also speak at the symposium.  A panel of Nebraska senators including Colby Coash, Brenda Council, Tony Fulton and Amanda McGill will follow the speakers and allow students an opportunity to ask questions.

Students can ask what it is like to be a state legislator, how legislators handle lobbyists, whether senators like campaigning or anything else in a no holds barred question and answer setting, according to Gonzales.

“It will provide students with a very unique opportunity to see what officials like and do not like about their jobs,” he said.

 Gale hopes the symposium will lead students to encourage their peers to vote. “In the past, students have complained that they don’t have a voice or that their voices aren’t heard,” Gale said. “But we hope with student-to-student encouragement that their voices will be heard through their voting.”

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