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Conklin urges young people to get involved

State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, shakes hands with a voter as he enters Oakwood Presbyterian Church in Patton Township on Tuesday.
State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, shakes hands with a voter as he enters Oakwood Presbyterian Church in Patton Township on Tuesday. CDT photo

State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, greeted voters Tuesday outside Oakwood Presbyterian Church.

He enjoys Election Day, he said, because it’s a chance to thank people for voting and to listen to their concerns.

Conklin, the incumbent in the 77th District, just wishes more voters would turn out.

“This year they’ll say there was 20 to 30 percent voter turnout,” Conklin said. “The reality is it’ll be about 15 percent of the people that are eligible turn out to vote. Democracy needs people to participate, and we need more people to participate.”

He said it’s especially important to get more young people involved in the democratic process and that he is encouraged that his opponent fits into that demographic.

Conklin’s Libertarian opponent, Charles Martin, is a 22-year-old senior at Penn State.

“It’s absolutely good not only having young people coming out to vote, but actually having someone young like him deeply involved shows democracy,” Conklin said. “The only way our country and our system works is democracy, so whether they’re running against me or whether they’re voting for me or against me, the idea is to come out and vote and be a part of this.”

Ben and Lauren Chapman, of Patton Township, said it’s important for young people like them to vote.

“We were just talking about this, because our lives and our money, which we’re especially concerned about, really are affected by who is in office,” Lauren Chapman said. “We want to be sure our money is used well.”

“And we’re concerned with policy, too,” Ben Chapman, 26, added. “If you look back 20 years down the road and see what direction this country or this state went, you don’t want to regret making the decision to not make your voice heard.”

The Chapmans’ main concern in the gubernatorial race is taxation of the gas and oil companies.

“We’re supporters of oil and gas, and in Pennsylvania we think it’s a good driver of the economy,” Lauren Chapman, 27, said.

The Chapmans took pictures of each other after they voted and chose a “Vote Here” sign as a backdrop instead choosing a candidate’s sign on the church lawn.

It’s a scene Conklin would like to see more often on Election Day.

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