Opinion: The youth vote matters

This Friday we recognize the 45th anniversary of the 26th amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years old, giving a voice to thousands of young people.

Today, the Millennial generation — people aged 18-35 — is one of the largest voting blocs in the country, making their votes in the 2016 election more influential than ever. Young people, like me, have a responsibility this year: With such a critical election, it’s crucial young people get out and vote in November.

As a Millennial, the top issue I want to see addressed is climate change. Climate change is the biggest and most urgent threat facing our nation, and my generation will face the worst effects of climate change if we don’t stand up and take action right now.

It’s time for our politicians and elected officials to be bold leaders and take action on climate change. Our country needs a president who has concrete solutions to combat climate change and who will put American families first and build a clean energy economy.

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 76 percent of 18 to 29 year olds say climate change is a serious problem facing America, with 63 percent calling it a very serious problem. Furthermore, 64 percent say the federal government should do more to address climate change.

In order to combat climate change, we must transition to a clean energy economy. Transitioning from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy will protect our health, provide good, well-paying jobs to Iowa families and strengthen our national security. A recent Rock the Vote/USA Today poll found 80 percent of Millennials agree that America should transition to “mostly clean or renewable energy by 2030.”

This year young people can make a difference. I’m calling on my generation to get registered and vote. We were given a voice 45 years ago; let’s make sure we are heard and bring our demands to the ballot box in November.

Sonali Durham is a recent graduate of City High School in Iowa City. She plans to attend Yale University in the fall.

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