Please note: This was published over a year ago. Phone numbers, email addresses and other information may have changed.
Sen. Merkley encourages students to register to vote
Photos and Story by James Hill
Sen. Jeff Merkley stunned a crowd of 50 students, faculty and staff on Tuesday, Sept. 25 with a statistic – six million students failed to register to vote in 2008. There were audible gasps from the crowd that wedged into the Cedar Room at the Sylvania Campus College Center Building to hear him speak.
“What are we all going do to today?” Sen. Merkley responded.
“Register to vote!” the crowd shot back.
Sen. Merkley’s visit to PCC was in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day, which aims to sign up students to vote. Besides the pep talk in the Cedar Room, the Senator also visited with students at graphic design and dental hygiene classes to encourage them to register for the upcoming presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 6. View the photo gallery of this event.
“Friends don’t let friends not register to vote!” he added. “I hope you will spread the word as individuals and leaders.”
On hand to welcome Sen. Merkley to the campus were Denise Frisbee, chair of the PCC Board; Jeff Triplett, dean of instruction at Sylvania; Daisy Nguyen, executive director for ASPCC-Sylvania; Eric Jenkins, legislative director for ASPCC-Sylvania; and Rob Wagner, government relations manager, presented the Senator with a college t-shirt.
The deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 16. Sen. Merkley’s visit coincided with PCC’s effort to register new voters at all of the college’s campuses. Student leaders have been organizing classroom raps about the importance of civic engagement and are scheduling more of them through Oct. 15.
If interested, students, staff or faculty can stop by any of their campus student government locations to register for this election: Cascade (Room 03, Student Center), Rock Creek (Room 128, Building 3), Sylvania (Room 101, CC Building) or Southeast Center (Room 151, Mount Tabor Hall). Voter registration forms can also be picked up at PCC Libraries, Bookstores and Registration Offices. Or visit the Secretary of State’s Elections website.
Ironically, Sen. Merkley was a student at Sylvania briefly (a karate class that led to a pulled muscle on the first day) in 1992 when his wife Mary was enrolled in pre-nursing courses. On Tuesday, he was at ease talking with the crowd and classes about education, physical infrastructure and economic issues, including the war in Afghanistan, jobs, green energy and the economy.
“Thank you for being engaged,” Sen. Merkley told the PCC crowd in the Cedar Room. “If you weren’t engaged you wouldn’t be in this room to begin with. Let’s cut that 6 million folks that missed the last deadline in half. Let’s take charge of our state and our country; let’s vote and let’s get our friends to vote.”