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Make politics real to youth, Young Democrats’ chief tells Beaufort County Democratic Women

By Staff
Chocowinity native Zach Hawkins announces voter registration event
Staff Writer
Zach Hawkins, a Chocowinity native and president of Young Democrats of North Carolina, told the Beaufort County Democratic Women at their meeting Wednesday night that their party will work to reach youth in rural parts of the state this campaign season.
To reach young voters, the party has to make political issues tangible to young voters, showing them how the political process impacts their everyday lives, Hawkins said.
As a part of that push, Hawkins announced that the state’s Young Democrats will be running a Down East Victory Tour.
The canvassing and registration push will visit Rocky Mount, Greenville, Wilson, New Bern, Goldsboro, Washington and other cities in the region.
The tour will be in Washington on the night of Aug. 15 and the morning of Aug. 16, which Hawkins said he was glad to be told coincides with Music in the Streets and Pickin’ on the Pamlico.
Issues like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy and health care are important issues in small North Carolina counties, and that getting young people to understand the impact that county and city governments have on their lives, in addition to the national system, is key.
Hawkins also opened the floor to questions.
John Chrystal asked for tips on making young people specifically more interested in politics.
He also encouraged the use of social networking Web sites like Facebook and Myspace to rapidly organize youth. The sites are popular with people from high school through young professionals, Hawkins said. He himself is a science teacher at a Durham high school.
The goal of the Young Democrats overall is to create a network of youth excited to work in their community, Hawkins said.
Josie Hookway asked Hawkins about the importance of supporting candidates for offices lower on the ticket.
Local and state races are key fights, along with the presidency, Hawkins said.
He told her that the key is to use the national prominence of the presidential campaign as an introduction to introduce people to local offices that have concrete impacts on their lives.
And it’s important to do that not just in larger cities such as Charlotte and Durham, but also in places like Washington, he said.