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NextGen New Hampshire Hosts Local Outreach Event

By Dalton Puffer
On November 2, 2018

Voting is a very vital privilege of being an American citizen. It’s what allows us as free citizens to voice our opinions and assign control to those who, we hope and believe, will ultimately do what’s best for our country and state. Even though it can be tough for those who don’t see their candidate that they voted for make it to office, and this time around in New Hampshire, it’s the Democrats who have been looking down. With mid-term elections coming this November, NextGen America is taking the initiative in an attempt to flip the house from red to blue. 

NextGen America is a Super PAC, non-profit, youth-centric organization that was founded and funded in 2013 by billionaire Tom Steyer. In 2010 Steyer pledged to donate half of his total income to charitable causes, and NextGen was a result of that pledge. According to their website, their mission is to “[act] politically to prevent climate disaster, promote prosperity, and protect the fundamental rights of every American.” This statement is something that may resonate deeply with many at Plymouth State, especially in the country’s current disposition.

A branch of NextGen America, NextGen New Hampshire caters to the local population in the “Live Free or Die” state. It’s a fitting motto too, as NextGen New Hampshire is acting vigilantly to get people to go out and vote for members of the Democratic party so they may do just that: live free. They would also like to let you know that this is done by electing members of government who, they say, will act on these things that are so important to us and many others: environment, prosperity, and freedom.

Last Thursday, October 18th at Live Free and Dine, the newly-opened pizza and calzone restaurant here in downtown Plymouth, Next Gen New Hampshire’s chapter from Plymouth set up shop with their event titled “Vote Free or Die.” Attracting people with free pizza and live music, the turnout was decent. But for a group so determined as this one, it was not nearly enough.

Five years ago, NextGen America came to the Plymouth State campus. “Originally,” said Vanessa Calabrese, a Plymouth Fellow for NextGen New Hampshire as local Plymouth band Kachow played in the background, “It was known as NextGen Climate, but the entire organization and all it’s members knew it should be called NextGen America. NextGen was more than about protecting the environment, and they needed people to know that.”

Since their time in Plymouth, the organization has been met with relative interest: “[We’re] mainly used as a resource and for inquiry on how and where to vote. Or things like how ballot counts work.” Continued Calabrese. “We’re a good resource. A lot of my job is helping people understand [the voting process] and what they are exactly voting for.” The Plymouth chapter is adamant on their message that they want to make sure people are voting and for the people who are looking to actively make a difference in their local community.

Maria Bode, another member of the Plymouth chapter, said that events like this one are for “outreach within the youth community.” Bode afterwards stated “We are for the youth; we are the youth. We are fun, and we are here.” She stressed the importance of politics, but also the idea that, while it is an important and serious thing, it can be fun. 

After the performance of Kachow and before the performance of another local artist, DJ Marco, Calabrese took to the microphone for a brief message. “We need all the help we can get in the upcoming weeks for this very important mid-term election. And don’t vote for Sununu; he doesn’t care about people like us.” Calabrese afterward said that everyone should get involved to make sure these things happen.

Currently, NextGen New Hampshire’s Plymouth chapter has no office space, but if you would like to act on your role as a voting citizen with NextGen, they can be found on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The mid-term elections in New Hampshire are to be held November 6th.

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