New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s daughter Molly Shaheen and her husband, actor Huw Collins, came to the Freedom Café in Durham N.H. on Wednesday Oct. 21 to discuss college students voting in the upcoming elections in November. Shaheen and her husband, alongside members of Sen. Shaheen’s campaign team, were on the campaign trail for Sen. Shaheen, who is up for reelection this November, and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
University of New Hampshire (UNH) students explained the rigorous coronavirus (COVID-19) testing program to Collins and Shaheen and that UNH students must be self-tested twice a week and have a valid Wildcat Pass. Collins responded, “I wish I had a Wildcat Pass!”
Collins said that he always tries to encourage people to vote no matter what political party they are a part of. Shaheen said that she wants college students to know how important their vote is to the Democrats winning the election. Shaheen also said that she is a bit more aggressive than her husband in telling people to vote for Biden and her mother Sen. Shaheen.
Collins also discussed bringing his friend and fellow actor Ian Harding from TV show “Pretty Little Liars” to New Hampshire for the election. Collins and Harding both worked on “Pretty Little Liars,” with Harding playing Ezra Fitz and Collins playing Dr. Elliot Rollins. Collins said that in the 2016 presidential election, he and Harding provided a bus to the polls at UNH and rode the bus with students to and from the polls that was really popular. He explained that “Ian is also smart and can talk on the issues.”
Shaheen said that they are planning to find a way to transport students to the polls again this November with Collins and Harding. She said they are looking into having buses to the polls with lower capacity than usual to accommodate for social distancing.
Shaheen also asked the attendees if they thought a lot of UNH students would vote in the upcoming election. Everyone in attendance thought the turnout would be great. They also said they have already helped a lot of students register to vote at the town hall. Shaheen said she is really excited to vote.
UNH student Heath Howard, who is running as a 2020 candidate for New Hampshire State Representative of the New Hampshire House of Representatives Strafford 3, discussed his upcoming election and the importance of college students voting for Biden and other democrats. He said that he doesn’t know where he stands in his race at the moment because they can’t realistically poll in his county of only about 3,000 people. Howard said his race will be competitive but he believes he has an edge over his conservative opponent. He said his opponent believes that “taxation is tyranny” and is also homophobic and believes in gay conversion therapy.
Howard additionally discussed the controversial new residency law in New Hampshire, House Bill 1264, which Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law in 2018. Howard and Collins discussed the unfairness of the bill trying to suppress college voters. They also talked about the Republicans trying to stop same-day registration which is another tool to suppress voters.
Faults in the education system in the U.S. is also something that Howard discussed, he said that the problem with the system is that schools teach things like geometry to kids but don’t teach important life knowledge like filing taxes. He also said the education system needs to teach its students more about the way the elections work and why it is important to vote.
Collins, who grew up in London, said that he loves America and is excited to become an American citizen in December. However, something he thinks needs to be improved in the U.S. is the education system across the country.
Collins said school kids in the U.S. need to learn more about sexual education than simply abstinence. Another thing he believes is lacking is Americans’ knowledge about global issues. But he said he thinks it’s different in Great Britain where he grew up because of how many countries they are surrounded by.
At the end of the event, Shaheen and Collins grabbed coffee at the Freedom Café and learned about the work it does. Collins exclaimed, “I love these guys!” after hearing about the Café’s efforts to stop human trafficking.
Photo Courtesy of Shawn Latulippe