Centre Focus: Election 2012 preview
Centre Focus is a public affairs report produced by students from Comm 466. This program explores election issues in Centre County, including a detailed review of all local, state and national races appearing on the county ballots.
The first report focuses on the Fifth District U.S. Congressional race, a second on the youth vote and the third report explores other issues important to Centre County voters.
Fifth District Congressional race
The Centre Focus reporting team of Leslie Pinero, Fernando Calderon, Danielle Van Gheem and Derek Moreno take a close look at the race between incumbent U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson and Democratic challenger Charles Dumas, who is a professor in the school of theater at Penn State. Republicans currently control the U.S. House of Representatives, so the stakes are high for both parties.
The Fifth District covers 23 percent of the land mass in Central Pennsylvania, including all of Centre County.
The youth vote
Are youth voters as engaged this year as they were four years ago when Barack Obama was elected as the first African American president? The Public affairs reporting team of Kofi Appiah, Bill Hood and Carly Rice discovered the answer is no.
The youth voting block includes voters ages 18 to 29. They say they are most concerned about getting jobs and the economy, as well as civil and human rights issues.
Reporters went to several on-campus gatherings during the Presidential debates to talk with students from both sides of the political aisle.
Many say they are somewhat engaged in the election process, but they don’t believe their first voting experience in a Presidential election will be as historic or memorable as the experience of their student counterparts in 2008.
The reporting team of Jillian Johnson, James Swanson, Ryan Kudla and Aaron Dunlevy fanned out across the Centre Region to find out what issues are the most important to voters of different generations.
Area baby boomers and seniors seem focused on concerns over the future of Medicare, Social Security and how the new health care initiative will impact them.
The team learned that younger voters are primarily concerned about the same issues as the rest of the nation – jobs and the economy.
Other issues of concern include funding cuts for the military, gay marriage and the use of U.S energy resources to reduce dependence on foreign oil.