A couple flights of stairs lead students to Room 360 at Cascadia Community College in Bothell. Inside, instructors Danielle Powell and Erin Richards team up to pass on their knowledge in a class that combines Communications 101 and Political Science 202.
With elections on tap for Nov. 4, “The Road to the White House” course is in peak form nowadays.
“There’s a lot of really good information, and lots of people have a lot of different opinions in this class,” said student Scott Dulin, 54. “It’s a really structured environment, it’s non-confrontational.”
“We have people from the far left to the far right,” noted student Claire Robinson, 18, adding that people get along whether they’re voting for Barack Obama or John McCain or Chris Gregoire or Dino Rossi.
Locally, talk of the Gregoire-Rossi Washington gubernatorial race is in the air.
Although 17-year-old Kylor Kersavage can’t vote this time out, he’s got strong opinions on why Rossi is the man for the job.
“I agree with his pro-life stance, and he said he wanted to spend money to help roadway congestion — I drive Highway 9 here, and it’s stop and go,” said the Snohomish High senior. “He’s also pro-small business, and I think that would really help the state economy.”
On the other side, Robinson, a Monroe High senior, weighed in: “I really think (Gregoire) is a better candidate … Dino Rossi just isn’t running a clean campaign. I agree with Gregoire about 80 percent — like women’s rights, she’s really active with that.”
Added Secondary Academy for Success student Steve Deleeuw, a Gregoire supporter, in a separate interview: “She is raising the minimum wage, and that’s a good idea because money is an issue for me. Rossi wants to lower the minimum wage, which I don’t like. A lot of people need (a substantial) minimum wage to help support their family.”
Dulin voted for Gregoire the first time around, and said he will again, but he’s still not too thrilled with who will reside in the Governor’s Mansion.
“I don’t think either party has a particularly strong candidate this time,” said Dulin, who cast his first vote in 1972 for presidential candidate George McGovern. “There’s no one like Democrats Mike Lowry or Booth Gardner, and Rossi is a step down from capable Republicans in the mold of Dan Evans and Slade Gorton.”
One thing that everyone agreed upon was that it’s important to be politically active.
Robinson has been interested in politics for four years and is currently a group leader for Washington Bus, an organization of young people that register voters. She also reminds people to vote on Halloween through Trick or Vote.
“It really affects the choice I have and the way I live,” Robinson said of voting. “I don’t want something to happen that adversely affects me, and I could have shared my voice, but didn’t.”
Kersavage got caught up in politics during the 2000 election and usually talks about the issues with his parents around the dinner table. He checked out this year’s voter’s guide and discussed with his parents whom they should vote for.
He’s always learning, and he’ll certainly be prepared when his voting time comes.
“If I hear something that I didn’t know about Dino Rossi or Christine Gregoire, I’ll look it up,” said Kersavage, noting that TV ads often use “loaded terms” and are “one-sided.” “I always try to learn more about the issues.”