CAMPAIGN CONNECTIONS: Time to Find You

Youth Vote

Are you under 30? Or are you a woman? The two presidential campaigns have you in their sights this week. President Barack Obama’s campaign launched a “For All” campaign. Much of the focus is finding a way for the campaign to connect with younger voters, who were key to getting Obama elected president 4 years ago. 26-year-old Shekina Young, of Des Moines, had the word, jobs, written on her hand as she stood inside the Obama headquarters in Des Moines Wednesday. Young volunteers, like Young, wrote one word on their hand and then had someone take their picture. The pictures then get shared on social media to show what issue is most important. It is a way to show what issues matter to young voters and how the president will work to better the lives of the people concerned about those issues.

Recent national polls show young people aren’t as excited about voting now as 4 years ago. Young people have struggled to find jobs and pay on their college debt. So some find themselves forced to live back home with their families because of their financial woes. But Young acknowledged there is something else challenging enthusiasm. Obama isn’t the new face in the race this time. So she said volunteers have to focus on sharing what they believe are the highlights of his first term in office and how they benefited young people on issues like lowering student loan interest rates to reconnect with her crowd. Young said, “It was something new. It some something exciting. And more, oh, yeah, that guy. We remember him. He’s cool.”

In Clive, Bonita Clark had plenty of unexpected visitors. Monday night, Clark’s daughter called her to see if her mother’s business, by Design, would host an event with Ann Romney, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Clark’s daughter has a friend on the campaign. Inside her custom home design business, Clark stood near a door that leads to the store’s warehouse that held a sign that read, private. “It is off-limits,” Clark said. Secret service and campaign staff were hard at work in the warehouse cleaning, building and organizing for the Thursday afternoon campaign event there.

Clark said the campaign would hold a “Women for Mitt” event at her store, which would feature Clark’s success as a female business owner. Although, Clark pointed out that there are many other women in business, so she doesn’t consider herself better than the rest. She does feel flattered she can host the event. Romney’s campaign looks to make inroads with women, who polls show prefer Obama, because of certain issues like Romney’s opposition to abortion. The campaign instead wants to focus on Romney’s efforts to improve the business climate for people like Clark. But she said it won’t be just women welcome Thursday. She said, “There will be men here and say hallelujah and I say men can come. Absolutely!”

Always the businesswoman, Clark also hopes to attract Romney’s eye to few specialty furniture items in her store that she points out can come in Republican red. Although, she knows, no matter how much she thinks Romney may like the merchandise, it could be a tough sell. Clark said, “I just can’t imagine it would happen because she would have things all over her house…because how many venues does she have?”

Clark knows this is a campaign trip, not a shopping trip with a warehouse full of secret service agents to prove it.

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