As the presidential election kicks off with the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, there is a lot of speculation about which issues and voters are going to make a big impact in the election.
This is a guide to what the different voting communities of women, youth, Latinos, labor, LGBT, seniors, African-Americans and veteran and military members in North Carolina feel are the most important issues to gain their vote.
This report is in no way representative of the diverse views of the individuals within these voter bases. Instead, these are the most important issues facing the nation as told by prominent organizations from each community.
We hope that this guide will help you realize which issues will be important in the upcoming election.
- National defense- maintain a strong national defense and avoid cutting the defense budget.
- Veterans’ health care- ensure that veterans have access to physical and mental care, reduce premiums and maintain disability compensation.
- Care for military families- provide health care and insurance services to military families.
“The premiums have increased over the years. Health care is a benefit that [veterans] have earned…People have put their necks on the line.”
-John Raughter, communications director of the American Legion
Event at the DNC- Veteran and Military Families Council, Sept. 3 and Sept. 5 at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 203 AB.
- Social Security- avoid increasing out-of-pocket costs for seniors and look into other ways of shrinking the deficit other than Social Security cuts.
- Medicare- improve Medicare coverage and lower costs; many seniors are worried about the cost of prescription medication and premium costs.
- Financial security- help people plan for retirement and help seniors feel secure in their retirement.
Compare the presidential candidates’ stances on these issues at AARP’s website.
“The main concern that we see when people call in is that people are just trying to make ends meet … People are having to make a choice between their medications and [having] enough to eat.”
-Mike Mitchell, information and referral specialist at the Raleigh-based Resources for Seniors.
Event at the DNC- Senior Council, Sept. 4 and Sept. 6 at 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Room 211AB/212AB
- Equal economic opportunities- secure fair pay for women and equal opportunity in the hiring process.
- Health care- preserve the gains made toward equal rights for women in regards to health-care access through the Affordable Care Act.
- Elect more women- Linda Young, President of the National Women’s Political Caucus, says that more women are running for office than in a very long time and that the nation needs more women in political office. The caucus informs its members about legislation and candidates that are important to women through its site HERvotes.
“Yes to job opportunities, yes for equal pay, yes for choice over health care and our bodies.”
-Linda Young, President of the National Women’s Political Caucus
Event at the DNC- Women’s Caucus, Sept. 4 and Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Ballroom ABCD
- Jobs- rebuild the economy with good-paying jobs and keep jobs in America rather than sending them overseas.
- Union rights- protect workers’ right to form unions and collectively bargain.
- Minimum wage- raise the minimum wage and create a living wage.
- General- make sure all Americans have access to a quality education, basic healthcare and retirement security.
“We organize around these issues by educating union members and the public about them through actions, events, op-eds, letters to the editor and other media exposure. Our focus from now until the election is turning out union members to vote in support of our labor-endorsed candidates. These are candidates who support our issues.”
- MaryBe McMillan, secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO
Event at the DNC- AFSCME Caucus, Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. in the Hilton Charlotte Center City
- Immigration- pass legislation, such as the Dream Act, that would establish a pathway to citizenship for immigrants.
- Health program- enable undocumented people to receive health care and benefits.
“We just want whoever is in office to be held accountable to the promises that they make to the Latino community.”
- Mike Figueras – Youth coordinator of El Pueblo, Inc.
Event at the DNC- Hispanic Caucus, Sept. 3 and Sept. 5 at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Ballroom B
- Education- use multidisciplinary education to teach 21st-century job skills to citizens.
- Economy- develop business and community capacity and create new sources of employment and self-employment that provide living wages.
- Infrastructure- focus on this long-term, critical issue for rural communities, such as inadequate water and sewer systems that pose problems for public health and environmental protection.
- Leadership- address youth migration from rural areas because of a lack of employment and enacting programs to teach community leaders how to get youth involved in the community.
- Jobs- help young entrepreneurs prepare for job opportunities for growing segments of the economy in their area.
“Everything about our community can be defined as a rural issue.”
- Garnet Bass, director of communications of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, Inc
Event at the DNC- Rural Council, Sept. 4 and Sept. 6 at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 203AB
- Marriage equality- on the national level, Barack Obama has come out in support of marriage equality while Mitt Romney supports a constitutional amendment to ban it.
- Workplace equality- promote a nondiscrimination act that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. In North Carolina, for example, it is still legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation. Getting and keeping a job is critical to everyone.
- Healthcare equality- provide access to health care for domestic partners.
“There is always a whole host of issues, and this time there is a stark contrast between where the candidates stand.”
- Brian Moulton, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign. The HRC helps keep their members informed about these issues by producing a congressional scorecard of legislators voting records.
Event at the DNC- LGBT Caucus, Sept. 4 and Sept. 6 at 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Room 203 AB
- Economic sustainability - address economic injustice, labor right and addressing systemic poverty.
- Education equality- support education equality for all students, segregation, under-funding and quality of public school.
- Healthcare and public safety- support healthcare for all and environmental justice.
- Criminal justice disparities- address there are 2 million people incarcerated in America and 1 million of them are people of color.
- Civic engagement- support voting rights, political participation and defending democracy.
Event at the DNC- Black Caucus, Sept. 3 and Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Ballroom CD
- Voter rights- oppose ID laws that would affect youth, minority and senior voters. It is a huge issue because if it is harder to vote then their power will be diminished for a long time.
- Education funding- oppose additional cuts to the UNC system and increased tuition fees.
- Social issues- support women’s rights, civil rights and marriage equality.
“Every right that we have depends on our right to vote.”
- Sam Spencer, president of the North Carolina Young Democrats
Event at the DNC- Youth Council, Sept. 3 and Sept. 5 at 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Ballroom B