On Friday, Oct. 25, seven Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives visited Oswego High School to discuss the upcoming election with the Republican Club and other OHS students.
The six GOP candidates are running for the Illinois 14th Congressional District U.S. House of Representatives seat against Democrat Representative Lauren Underwood in 2020. The winner of the 2020 spring primary will go up against her. The candidates filed one by one into the school’s Auxiliary Gym to speak with students both in and out of the Republican Club.
The event, which was the first time that all the candidates had ever been in the same room together, was organized entirely by the Republican club. Junior Santiago Torres, the Republican club president, was one of the students who attended and appreciated the candidates’ time.
“It was definitely an awesome experience for everyone involved,” Torres said. “I appreciate that the candidates would donate some of their time to come talk to us. It’s the local interactions with the community that are the most important in establishing relationships with the voters.”
Chemistry teacher Lesli Barron, the Republican Club sponsor, knew that most of the kids in the gym were not of age and thus unable to vote.
“I think kids are interested in politics, they hear it in our school, they hear it in their classes,” Barron said. “Making that one on one connection with people that are representing them [is important].”
The event gave the students a great opportunity to not only get information on the upcoming candidates but also to have the opportunity to meet them in person. Students who attended the event had a chance to ask the candidates questions about their positions on certain issues, why they’re running, and other things associated with their role.
Sophomore and Vice President of Republican Club Azalea Beaver was present at the event and talked about her experience of working as an intern for candidate James Marter.
“I’ve learned a lot of things politically from him,” she said.
Part of her political experience was working with Turning Point USA, a Conservative organization that educates students on politics and being able to lobby during the Muller hearing.
“I would like to engage my students around me as well,” she said about her involvement in politics.
Some of the students present were interested in finding out more information about the candidates.
“To be honest, I’m more excited to learn about them all, because I haven’t heard very much about them,” senior Elliott Craighead, a member of the Republican club, said.
Candidates Anthony Catella and James Marter came over to talk with groups of students about what they stand for. With many students being able to vote in the election, it is important to give them the chance to learn about their politics, both locally and nationwide. This event gave them their chance.
“It is very important for the school to keep hosting these types in the future,” Torres said. “Regardless of political affiliation, it is important to get teenagers into the democratic process at a young age. An uninformed population can be easily swayed to follow one side based on a shallow idea of the political principles. That’s why we need these events for our youth to become educated in the parties, and decide how they will choose to align themselves.”
If you are interested in learning more about what these candidates have to offer, here are their websites with more information about their campaigns.