Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on May 19th, 2011 :: 5:44:25 to 5:49:40
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Tom Harkin

5:44:17 to 5:44:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: quorum call: a senator: the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: madam president, i rise today to speak about importance of getting our young people involved -- the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call, senator. mr. manchin: permission to address the senate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: madam president, i

Tom Harkin

5:44:25 to 5:49:40( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Harkin

Tom Harkin

5:44:39 to 5:44:59( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: rise today to speak about the importance of getting our young people involved in our electoral process and to highlight a west virginia school with a standout record for going the extra mile to encourage students to register and to participate in voting. i tell young people all the time, you cannot sit on the sidelines and watch life happen. you have to get in the game and

Tom Harkin

5:45:00 to 5:45:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: start making the calls. the same can be said about our democracy. if you want results, you have to first become an informed and active voter. voting is one of the greatest rights of the free people of a free nation possess. over the course of our history,

Tom Harkin

5:45:22 to 5:45:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: many have fought tirelessly to gain the right. it was jennings randolph who relentlessly pushed for the 26th amendment to the constitution, ensuring those 18 years of age or older had the right to cast a ballot. it took him almost 30 years to get this passed. he started during world war ii.

Tom Harkin

5:45:44 to 5:46:05( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it didn't pass until 1971. each vote matters, and the individuals casting those votes matter even more. i know that firsthand because i was honored to serve west virginia in the highest elected office for the electorate -- elections officer was the secretary of state. i served from 2000-2004. during my tenure, we established

Tom Harkin

5:46:06 to 5:46:27( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: a program we called saving history and reaching every student, which was known as the shares program, which promoted democracy in west virginia schools. we registered 42,000 high school students. in my state, so many of the students, if they are 17 years of age but they turn 18 on the election day, november 4 or before, they can vote in the primary while they are 17.

Tom Harkin

5:46:28 to 5:46:48( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: they didn't know that, and we started promoting. we had ambassadors, and they were all working and trying to get 100% of their class that was eligible to participate to register and then vote. and then we would reward them with a school of excellence. my staff and i traveled the state speaking with high school seniors, encouraging them to

Tom Harkin

5:46:49 to 5:47:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: complete a voter registration form and to participate in our elections. a decade after that program began, it gives me great pleasure to stand here on the senate floor today and recognize a school, one school that truly takes it to a whole another level with their students, and

Tom Harkin

5:47:11 to 5:47:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: they took it very seriously as far as democracy and their right and their responsibility to participate. every year for the past decade, the staff and the members of fayette county's meadow bridge high school with their outstanding principal have registered 100% of each senior class. this is truly a remarkable accomplishment, and i am unaware

Tom Harkin

5:47:32 to 5:47:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: of any other school in our great state or across this nation that has produced voter registration numbers like those for ten years in a row. think of it. every student in the senior class of this school for ten years got everybody registered to participate. the school takes important steps like explaining the registration

Tom Harkin

5:47:53 to 5:48:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: form, the election process and the importance of one's vote, all of which go a long way in opening the minds of young adults and showing them that it is easy to become involved, cast a vote and make a difference. and i have said this to so many young students and the students that come and work with us every day. the most valued thing that you will ever own in your life is your vote.

Tom Harkin

5:48:14 to 5:48:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it belongs to you and nobody else. there's only one -- your vote. nobody can take that away from you. i applaud meadow bridge high school students, faculty and staff for their commitment to our democracy, and i challenge other high schools to follow meadow bridge's example. let us work together to encourage our nation's young adults.

Tom Harkin

5:48:35 to 5:48:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: even more when it comes to our democracy and our national issues. this is not a partisan issue. as so many things might be in this body, this is not. it's all of us working together to continue to lead this great country. it's all of us being americans and that we should support for

Tom Harkin

5:48:56 to 5:49:21( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: the future of our great nation this democracy of ours the freedom to vote. i'm so proud that west virginia's own meadow bridge high school is such a great example, not only for the state of west virginia, but for young students all over this nation. thank you. madam president, i absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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