College-aged voters: the senate election is in your hands

Refinanced loans and women’s issues are among several hot button issues in this year’s race

By: Brook Clifford

Did you vote in the 2012 presidential election?

If you did, and you are within the age group of 18-30 year olds, your vote had an incredibly significant impact on the results. If it were not for the that age group of voters in that election Mitt Romney would have won by a landslide, according to according to a Pew Research Center finding.

If you didn’t vote, do you wish you would have now?

“People of our generation are going to be the future of our country,” NKU Student Government Association President John Jose said. “The senate race is going to matter to our education and student debt.”

College Republicans
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In preparation for the upcoming Kentucky Senate election, College Republicans has partnered with the Northern Kentucky Young Republicans in door-to-door efforts to gain Kentuckian support for incumbent candidate Mitch McConnell.

The college republicans support McConnell because of his sponsorship regarding the original Violence Against Women Act. He supported VAWA reauthorization in 2000 and 2005, as well as a version with stronger protections than what the Obama agenda would allow in 2012.

Senator McConnell voted for a bill that contained the Violence Against Women Act in 1993, but voted against it in 1994 because liberal Democrats included an assault weapons ban in the legislation.

“Republicans are going to help create the jobs that NKU graduates need and having McConnell as the Senate majority leader will help Kentucky when it comes to getting federal aid for colleges and universities,” said Patrick Reagan, President of College Republicans.

However, a lot of young people don’t realize how important their vote is, according to Leonid Stosman, a part of Kentucky Campus Compact—a bipartisan, nonprofit organization committed to helping fulfill the civic purposes of higher education.

“The youth vote has the power to sway or decide an election,” Stosman said. “A lot of that age group feels disenfranchised, they feel like, ‘What’s the point?’.”

The point, however, is that the Kentucky Senatorial Race is quickly approaching. The last poll released showed candidate Mitch McConnell with less than a five percent lead over Alison Grimes, according to

Jose looks back to President Barack Obama’s election to illustrate the change that younger, college-aged voters can make through voting.

“Our generation helped push Barack Obama over that mark to become president,” Jose said. “This senate race is going to matter to our education and our student debt.”

As far as the candidates are concerned, Grimes supports the refinancing of student loans at lower rates, paid for by increasing taxes on incomes over a million dollars, whereas McConnell doesn’t, according to the Kentucky Senate Nonpartisan Guide from the Kentucky Campus Compact organization.

McConnell has introduced wounded warrior legislation and secured a 3.5 percent pay increase for veterans according to his website

On social issues, McConnell was a co-sponsor of the original Violence Against Women Act. Grimes is pro-gay marriage and pro-abortion, according to the KCC non-partisan guide.

College Democrats
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The College Democrats’ main priority throughout campaign season has been getting as many NKU students registered to vote in the upcoming Kentucky Senate race as possible.

They support Alison Lundergan Grimes because of her support for equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 and helping students with college debt. Grimes would be Kentucky’s first female senator.

“Student loan refinancing is the biggest issue affecting a lot of students and being able to graduate and not be in so much debt that they can’t afford to start their life,” said Christopher Drake, President of College Democrats. “That’s an issue I’m excited for that she fully supports.”

“If the college students in Kentucky are registered to vote... those voices can make a huge decision in this election,” Jose said. “It’s important for them to know their voice counts.”

In terms of employment, Grimes hopes to raise minimum wage if put into office, while McConnell hopes to create more job opportunities in Kentucky, according to their websites.

Neither Grimes nor McConnell support restricting gun control nor did either of them support the government shutdown that occurred last year.

Overall, young people casted 352,000 votes in the last midterm election in Nov. 2010. That’s compared to 2008 when incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell won the election by a margin of 106, 811 votes, according to

To Stosman, facts such as that make it clear how important the youth vote is.

“If young voters don’t think their vote is important, they should think again,” Stosman said.

To find out more information about both candiates campaigns and stances on polictical issues, go onto their websites at and

Alison Grimes

  • Higher Education: wants to allow students to refinance their loans and maintain full funding for Pell Grants
  • Coal: strongly opposes Obama’s “attack” on Kentucky’s coal industry
  • Healthcare: wants to keep benefits and eligibility for Social Security and Medicare, and is against the privatization or adoption of a voucher system in either program
  • Veteran Affairs: wants to expand education and training opportunities for veterans, while also improving access to health care
  • Jobs:plans to create jobs and raise the minimum wage
  • Women's Issues: is for equal pay for women, protection of domestic abuse victims and affordable childcare
  • Gay Marriage: supports gay marriage

Alison is originally from Maysville, Kentucky. She pursued a BA in political science at Rhodes College and then received her law degree at American University, Washington College of Law. Grimes has worked as a business attorney in Lexington where she currently lives with her husband. As current secretary of state, Alison works with leaders in industry to promote Kentucky by “establishing a one-stop business portal and a uniform business identification number.”

Mitch McConnell

  • Higher Education: believes students should be more cost-conscious in their pursuit for higher education
  • Coal: sponsored multiple coal-related acts to help protect Kentucky coal miners’ jobs from “Obama’s war on coal”
  • Healthcare opposed taking $700 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare
  • Veteran Affairs: helped to secure $190 million to help states build facilities to provide care for veterans
  • Jobs: plans to use his influence to defend Kentucky’s working families
  • Women's Issues: co-sponsored the original Violence Against Women Act
  • Gay Marriage: against gay marriage

Mitch McConnell was raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He graduated from the University of Louisville and received his law degree at the University of Kentucky College of Law. McConnell served as the chief legislative assistant to Senator Marlow Cook and was then deputy assistant Attorney General. He then served as a county judge-executive in Louisville, Kentucky before becoming a part of the U.S. Senate. Mitch has been re-elected as a senator five times.

November 4 is nearly here

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How to register:

You can register to vote in-person at your County Clerk anytime before the registration deadline. You may also register to vote at any DMV office and at other state-run agencies in your area. Contact your County Clerk to learn more about local options for registering to vote in person. You can also register by mail or through a third party organization.

Where to vote:

Go to a website such as to get your personalized voting information.