Shaheen, Pappas make push for UNH student vote
By Ian Lenahan
October 12, 2020
DURHAM — Addressing roughly three dozen University of New Hampshire students Monday morning, Democratic Congressman Chris Pappas said Durham-based students will play a critical role in the Nov. 3 election.
“I have to say in my conversations with young people in the last few years as I’ve been campaigning and just getting out and about New Hampshire, you all are inspirational because you get it,” he said. “You get the need for an inclusive future that allows people to get ahead and stay ahead.”
Pappas is finishing his first term and is seeking re-election to represent New Hampshire Congressional District 1.
Joined by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, also a Democrat, at Freedom Cafe, the duo talked to prospective student voters and Durham community members about the importance of mobilizing the college-age demographic to vote in the November election.
Pappas, citing his involvement as a high school volunteer on Sen. Shaheen’s 1996 winning gubernatorial campaign, spoke to the importance of younger demographics’ involvement in politics beyond the federal level.
“You have a role to play to get out and vote yourselves, to make sure your friends, family and community members get out to vote,” he told the group.
UNH junior Samantha Hobson, who supports Pappas’ Republican opponent Matt Mowers through the coalition “Students for Mowers,” said the coalition has made “thousands” of recent contacts spreading the promise of Mowers’ campaign.
“Students are excited about Matt’s campaign because he represents a new generation of conservative leadership and he is running on a message that resonates with us,” she wrote in an emailed statement.
The coalition, which has roughly 75 students active on New Hampshire college campuses, believes Mowers’ campaign will act on students’ desire for “safe communities, a healthy environment and a growing economy with job opportunities for when we graduate.”
“Mowers is fighting for us and we’ll be competing for every vote on campuses across the district,” Hobson added.
Sen. Shaheen discussed pressing issues relative to young people, such as advocating for women’s reproductive rights, keeping people under 26 on their parents’ health care plans under the Affordable Care Act, and supporting legislation to bring interest on student loans under 3%.
Without care or concern from the younger voters on Election Day, such issues won’t be faced by legislators, she said.
“Your voice, your vote, is going to make such a huge difference,” she said.
Corky Messner, Sen. Shaheen’s opponent and New Hampshire’s Republican nominee for the seat, did not respond for comment at the time of this writing.