On Monday, over two dozen University of New Hampshire (UNH) students and community members gathered outside the Freedom Café in Durham for an event featuring Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), and New Hampshire State Representative and UNH alumnus Cam Kenney.
The “Get Out the Vote” event started with the introduction of Kenney who spoke to his experience as a young voter in college and his experience legislating in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Kenney spoke about voting rights for students and his personal experience in Concord where he asserted that Republicans are seeking to pass bills to “discourage voting and disenfranchise voters.”
After his brief speech, Kenney introduced Rep. Pappas who immediately echoed Kenney’s thoughts on voting rights in N.H. and the important role of young people in the election.
“If America’s young people use their voice at this point in history, we can turn the tide,” he said. “You [young people] get the need for an inclusive future that allows all people to get ahead.”
Pappas highlighted many policy goals that are on the line in this election for Democratic voters, including the preservation of the Affordable Care Act, protecting rights for LGBTQ people, and raising the minimum wage.
Pappas then introduced Sen. Shaheen saying that she is “an inspiration to me as a young person running for office.”
Shaheen immediately turned her attention to her and her colleague’s Republican opponents this fall, highlighting the changes in domicile law passed by New Hampshire Republicans in 2018, which could affect out-of-state college students’ abilities to vote in New Hampshire. Shaheen went on to claim that Democrats’ opponents are “nothing but clones of Donald Trump.”
Shaheen then spoke about what she considers the three biggest challenges facing voters in the election: the state of the pandemic, the economic collapse as a result of the pandemic, and racial injustice throughout the country. She also brought attention to the current Supreme Court nomination process, stating that the Affordable Care Act and reproductive health care are on the ballot as a result.
Shaheen ended her speech by reaffirming the power that young people, college students especially, have in the outcome of the election.
“If you turn out to vote you change the election,” she said. “Your voice, your vote is going to make a big difference.”
All three lawmakers encouraged students to elect Democrats up and down the ballot and encouraged them to motivate their friends and peers to do so as well.
Pappas is running for his second term as representative from NH-01 against Trump State Department appointee Matt Mowers. Shaheen is running for her third term as senator against army veteran and businessman Corky Messner. Kenney is seeking his second term as one of the youngest representatives in the N.H. state legislature.