Teen takes trek to partake in presidential proceeding (VIDEO)
Thursday, July 25, 2013
For Claire Briggs, the fun thing about being a Democrat is that many people in Jefferson City are not.
The 18-year-old attended President Barack Obama’s speech Wednesday at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg with three other Jefferson City Democrats — Brendan Harrison, Ellie Bush and Paula Willmarth.
“I’m always amazed at how good of an orator he is,” Briggs said of Obama following his speech. “I love how he touched on health care and education. It was almost like a platform speech.”
Briggs founded Jefferson City High School’s Young Democrat Club her sophomore year of high school and graduated from the school in May. The 16-year-old Harrison will take over as club president this school year. Bush is a sophomore political science major at the University of Missouri and interns at the Missouri Democratic Party headquarters in Jefferson City with Briggs and Harrison. Willmarth is the chair of the Cole County Democratic Central Committee.
Willmarth is the only of the four who had seen Obama in person prior to Wednesday’s event.
“He really did a great job of energizing the crowd,” Briggs said. “It was awesome seeing a president, much less one that I love.”
Briggs had hoped Obama would elaborate on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and he did, albeit briefly.
“I realize it’s not the most pressing issue, so he talked about it as much as I could expect,” Briggs said.
The president signed the ACA into law in 2010. It includes comprehensive health insurance reforms that will roll out over the next few years. The law’s main goal is to provide affordable health coverage for more Americans.
“Personally, I think it’s a great thing,” Briggs said of the law. “Everyone needs health care.”
Along with the ACA, Obama said the cost of health care is growing at its slowest rate in 50 years.
He also addressed student loans for higher education, another issue that concerns Briggs.
It’s something on her mind recently — she will attend Truman State University as a political science major this fall. She hopes to one day become a political campaign manager or to run for political office.
While Obama expressed his disdain in his speech for the doubling of student loan interest rates, senators in Washington passed a bill to cut rates on nearly all new federal student loans.
Obama also endorsed Missouri’s Innovation Campus, which Gov. Jay Nixon launched in 2012 “to train students for careers in high-demand fields, cut the time it takes to earn a college degree, and reduce student debt.”
“It’s interesting because what he’s talking about sounds similar to the academies talked about in Jefferson City, which I’m against,” Briggs said. “I really hope he’s not backing an academy-type plan.”
But, Briggs said that she was pleased overall by Obama’s remarks.
“It’s nice that he thinks more about the future than about the past,” she said.
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