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The Carletonian

Craig restores faith in election process

<ir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-8de69274-30a1-d04a-78ed-6b91e5385f51">Next week marks the first time that many Carleton students will be able to cast ballots in a presidential election. I always expected that I would be beyond excited for this event. I have vivid memories of the presidential election that occurred when I was in middle school, when my best friend and I trudged the four hours to New Hampshire to knock on doors and convince the confused folks within that they should register to vote. At the time I eagerly looked forward to the day when I would also be allowed to vote for the next president.

Fast forward eight years and here I am sitting in Northfield, Minnesota, wishing I could avoid the current presidential election. I could avoid the current presidential election. I have recently become disenchanted with our political system, and I know I’m not the only one. When I compare my views on this election with my middle school excitement, I’m often more disheartened. However, remembering that experience has made me want to find a candidate I can be excited about. It led me to look beyond the presidential mayhem and find Angie Craig, a candidate I genuinely like.

Were my middle school feelings naïve? Probably. But was I wrong about the importance of paying attention to politics? I don’t think I was. Every election is going to have a winner, regardless of whether I vote or read the news or not. For some elections, however, my vote (and your vote) could make a very real difference. Not all elections are as large scale as the presidential one, and some local elections come down to just a small number of votes.

With that in mind, I’ve found a race where I can cast a vote that makes me feel just a little bit less disenchanted with politics. Sure, that’s a small thing, and after voting, I’m still going to return to my corner of Olin with my quiet political views and silent frustration with the system. But I think I might be able to do so while feeling just a little bit closer to how I felt knocking on those doors in New Hampshire.

The race I’m talking about is for congressional representative. If you are voting in Northfield, your choice is between Democrat Angie Craig and Republican Jason Lewis, two names that are a lot less familiar than those of the presidential candidates. Fair warning: if you try Googling “local races in Northfield,” you’ll get some quality information about 5Ks. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that this particular race is impressively close and thus important to vote in.

Angie Craig is a candidate who I find I can finally resonate with on the majority of issues. Her views on making education more affordable are ones that are important to me as I think about how much my family and I pay for my schooling, her focus on alternative energy makes the scientist in me happy, and the fact that a Republican governor has endorsed, her despite her party, encourages me to think that she might be just a little less partisan than what so much of our government has become. While Lewis, a former host of talk radio, has been stirring up voters with incendiary commentary, Craig seems remarkably down to earth and focused on the important issues.

Do I wish this election season were different? Absolutely. So much so that I almost didn’t look beyond the presidential race to remember the importance of voting. But I’m extremely glad I did. So my suggestion is to go out and start looking.

Angie Craig might be the candidate you love, and I encourage you to check out her views, or someone else might be. I bet you can find someone who speaks to you if you take even just an hour to investigate. We can use this fall to become cynical and angry or we can use it to figure out how we would rather our political system be and start thinking about how to get there. Go vote!

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