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How to get the high school student vote

Democratic debate viewers

Temple City High School senior Byron Briones, 17, shares his views with Democratic presidential debate watchers.

(Kyle Finck)

It’s an exciting time for Americans who are almost old enough to vote.

High school students attending the Los Angeles Times Democratic debate watch party Tuesday night at the Regent were unsure which candidate they would ultimately support, but they agreed on the importance of income inequality as a key issue -– and that united them in their interest in Bernie Sanders.

“I don’t have one candidate that I’m 100% supporting,” said Christian Caridad, a 16-year-old student at Garfield High School. “I like both Hillary [Rodham Clinton] and Bernie. I like how Hillary has a lot of personal experience and background in the government and how she is for making college education more affordable, and the fact that she thinks that the college education cost is too high. ... On the other hand, I am with Bernie because he is for helping undocumented immigrants and providing a path for them to U.S. citizenship.”

The choice was similarly murky for Byron Briones, a 17-year-old attending Temple City High School. “I’m kind of stuck between Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley,” he said. “I think O’Malley would be great for his foreign policy. Bernie Sanders has more of a focus on economic equality, which a lot of people would agree on as the most important issue.”

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Natalie Ravis, 17, Notre Dame Academy, was also stuck in the middle. “I’m between Bernie and Hillary,” she said. “I think Hillary is very reasonable in all of her approaches. ... I think she has very strong opinions which everyone can relate to.” But she also felt Sanders may help young people like her gain more opportunities. “I’m not part of the 1%,” she said, adding that Sanders’ position on free higher education appeals to her. “We’re potential leaders and it is very applicable to the ordinary person.”


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