Aubrey Abbott, Staff Reporter
May 9, 2012
As part of College Civics Week, Secretary of State Sam Reed made an appearance on campus
May 1, encouraging students to vote.
A forum was held in the SURC where a panel of representatives, including Reed, spoke about
the legislative process, upcoming election initiatives and the importance of students voting.
“I want to encourage you to register and to vote,” Reed said. “This is the year for you to get
involved, for you to get engaged.”
Reed started his career path by becoming more involved and excited about voting and political
His “Farewell Tour” led Reed to speak at 42 different campuses across the state. He noted that
numerous international students were shocked that students in the U.S. were not involved and
participating in the voting process. Furthermore, the students stated that they would love to
have the opportunity to vote in their countries.
“Don’t take this for granted,” Reed said. “We are so fortunate in America; we have the right to
select our own leaders through the voting process, and we need to step up and take advantage
of these opportunities.”
Students gathered around to listen about the importance of student participation in the
Reed spoke about many upcoming candidates in Washington, initiatives such as legalization of
marijuana, and referendums including same-sex marriage. Reed continued to inform students
that this year especially, young people should certainly get excited about these interesting and
Washington is the second state in the country with the option for registered voters to mail in
their ballot. More importantly, Washington has a ‘student-friendly’ registration process.
Students are able to mail in their ballots even if they change location, whereas in many other
states physical appearance at the polls is required.
Reed believes in the importance of student participation.
“Students should be involved because of the tuition increases and costs that have hit directly;
they need to be aware of the fact,” Reed said. “Students are the ones that should be out
participating in order for these issues to be heard.”
Hanz Zeiger, state representative and panelist participant, discussed the importance of voting,
especially dealing with issues about higher education.
“We are the most civically minded generation since our grandparents,” Zeiger said.
Zeiger informed students why voting is crucial for issues brought to the legislative level,
especially about budget cuts and tuition increases.
“We didn’t make any cuts this year; however, that doesn’t mean there won’t be cuts in the near
future,” Zeiger said. “That doesn’t mean that we can’t ask for an increase in funding toward
higher education in the near future.”
Zeiger said that a commitment needs to be made, as well as a public investment in higher
education, in order to connect the link of these issues to this state and it’s economic future.
Tony Aronica of the Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce spoke on the panel as well. As an
executive member of the Central Alumni Association, Aronica is working to make Ellensburg a
place to live not just on the weekdays. He states that student participation is extremely
“Voting should be the gateway to action; your first act is to vote,” Aronica said.
Audience member Steve DuPont expressed that members of the panel did an amazing job in
answering the students’ questions.
“All three of the panelists were well-known and well-respected politicians,” DuPont said.