Nick gives kids a platform to vote

'Pick the President' campaign continues

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NEW YORK -- Nickelodeon's Kids Pick the President campaign, a year-long initiative to build young citizens' awareness of the election process and issues for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, continues with Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: Election Issues '08, the second of four specials.

In this special, kids speak out on the campaign issues that affect their lives, including the war in Iraq, terrorism, the economy, education, the environment, healthcare and immigration.

"It doesn't matter whether you're a kid voting for practice or an adult voting for real," said Ellerbee. "What really matters is that the stakes today are higher than ever before. When it comes to voting, the more you know, the better off you are and so is your country."

Following Election Issues '08, Nick's Kids Pick the President campaign will continue throughout the year, airing two additional specials. Tails from the Trail, which premieres in August, will feature stories from kids actively campaigning for specific candidates. In the final special, Kids Pick the President, which premieres in October, Ellerbee will take kids' questions to the presidential candidates and then encourage kids to go online to www.nick.com/kpp and vote for the next U.S. President.

In Election Issues '08, kids have conflicting views on the war in Iraq. Lydia says, "The next president should continue to support our troops in Iraq and to try to continue this stabilization of Iraq and creating a more democratic government," while Ashley says, "We should get out of Iraq before things get even worse than they already are."

Another important issue to kids is terrorism. Joe believes America needs "more border security on the ports of entry in our country through boats, ships, planes...a lot of boxes go unchecked that terrorists can use for bombs." However, Mischa says, "The government should not be allowed to read your letters, wire tap your conversations or collect any personal information."

Education concerns kids because they are directly affected by this issue, especially the No Child Left Behind Act. Tiffany, from Oakland, Calif., attends Caslemount High School, which the government considers to be a "failing school" due to students' poor tests scores. "The education I'm getting right now is how to take a test," Tiffany says. "I want to learn something else." Adrienne believes "testing is not a good way to see how a child is learning because not all children are really good test takers."

With eight million kids in the U.S. living without health insurance, health care has emerged as one of the main issues facing presidential candidates this year. And it's not just kids' health at stake. Tasha's mother has asthma, an enlarged heart, and no health insurance. Tasha says she worries every day that her mother "is just gonna collapse from her heart." Zach believes "healthcare should be the government's responsibility. I think that if you're an American citizen that healthcare should be free." But Christine thinks "the government's involvement with health care should be limited" and that universal health care is not the way to approach this issue.

As prices on gas, heating oil and food continue to rise, and as some parents are losing their jobs and unable to meet their housing costs, kids are affected. Eyke says, "The rich can afford a yacht, the rich can afford to buy stock on Wall Street but, frankly, the regular American is having a tough time paying for their health care, they're having a tough time paying their rent and that's not right." Alex has another take on the issue. "Instead of using the hundreds of billions of dollars on the war on terror, maybe we should really use it on things we really need here."
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