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UWF Millennial Voters Share Views On 2016 Election

Sandra Averhart
WUWF Public Media

The race for president has come down to a heated battle between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

If they actually go to the polls, millennial voters could play a major role in the outcome.

Young voters at the University of West Florida fall into that category. WUWF recently went to the University Commons, the center of campus activity, to talk with a few of them to get their thoughts on the candidates and the issues driving their participation in this year’s election.

“My name is Alyssa. I’m from Milton, Florida. I’m 19, and I’m studying comprehensive marketing and theater,” said UWF student Alyssa King, who was crocheting during her break between classes.

King confirmed that she is registered and will be voting in what will be per first presidential election.

“I think it's important to vote, you know, so you can have some sort of say in what goes on in our nation,” King said. “And, I think that if you don’t vote you can’t really complain about what’s going on.”

King said Hillary Clinton will get her vote, in part, because Clinton is more aligned with her views on Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender issues.

“I guess I really care about the LGBT’s place in our nation and their treatment,” said King. “So, I think whenever there’s a politician that has an opinion that’s kind of leaning away from them, it always makes me kind of feel like I don’t really go towards that kind of politician because it’s just important to my personal life.”

Credit Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media
WUWF Public Media
WUWF intern Travis Morency talks politics with UWF senior Brandon Robinson, director of the Black Student Union.

Brandon Robinson, from Pensacola, FL, is a senior, communication major, and director of the Black Student Union. Robinson had already voted by absentee. He declined to say who he voted for but he recently led efforts to hang a large Black-Lives-Matter sign in the commons.

“Especially with all the thing that has been happening around the world, I think social justice is important, continuing diversity for all types of people, and welcoming different demographics is very important,” Robinson said. “I definitely think the next president should have a focus on that because that seem to be the biggest issue that's affecting America. It's just so much crime, tragedies, and social injustice for all types of people from different walks of life."

Also in the commons were biology major Jaikin Hunter and Annie Wallace, who’s majoring in exercise science. They identified themselves as a couple and expressed similar concerns about the future.

"The economics is really important. I think just us trying to get jobs and that affects us for our entire life and it's about to be really important for us," Hunter said.

"I think our education system really matters and that they should make it cheaper for students and not have so much debt and loans so that people don't even want to go to college,” added Wallace. “When students get out they're not going to have as many jobs. It’s so expensive and they will have to pay for their college and stuff.”

When it comes to who they plan to vote for, they’re only partly on the same page.

Credit Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media
WUWF Public Media
UWF students Jaikin Hunter and Annie Wallace.

"I was planning on voting for Trump, because I was voting for the lesser of two evils. I think Hillary is terrible," Jaikin said.

"One reason that I don't like Hillary Clinton is because I think she is going to support big corporations and big businesses,” Wallace explained. “I think a lot of times they don't favor us as the people and they just care about the money. I think that it would be more beneficial for her not to get elected. I don't like her or Trump. I just don't like Trump’s views.”

Instead of the front-runners Clinton and Trump, Wallace is giving her support to Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee.

According to the website whitehouse.gov, Millennials are now the largest, most diverse generation in U.S population; and they could determine the winner of this year’s presidential election. Here in the important swing-state of Florida, Millennials age 18-29 represent 21% of the state’s 12.8 million voters.