Agnes Meer

Photo provided Agnes Meer is more than just the first lady of Michigan City. She is a substitute teacher, the mentoring program project coordinator for the new Veterans Treatment Court and a poet.

I am currently in my 12th year as a guest teacher for Michigan City Area Schools. I recently had a sixth-grade student from Edgewood Elementary School pick my brain regarding politics.

At the time it happened, I was trying to read the teacher's lesson plans and take the attendance. When I glanced up, there was a student standing in front of the teacher's desk asking me questions about the presidential race. I almost gave him that look to go sit down because I was distracted. But, instead, I collected my thoughts and decided to listen to what he had to say.

Little did I know I was in for a surprising and refreshing treat. This young man was very informed about the presidential candidates and their ideals. He gave his opinion on how those ideals would or wouldn't be accepted by the voting public. He even gave his own perspective on what he thought the candidates should be focused on.

I found myself engaged in a vigorous discussion on how political parties use their influence and power to assist or hinder some candidates. He pointed out that the more people voiced their opinions about the issues at hand, it would put more pressure on the politicians to listen to what the public wanted.

Eventually, I complimented him on his interest in the political process, and I told him I was impressed with how knowledgeable he was.

It was evident to me that his parents were informed voters and they probably watched the news on a regular basis. I know that MCAS students tune in to CNN Student News on TV on a weekly basis.

I felt this was a great moment to share because he gets it. This sixth-grade student is realizing the importance of being involved and voting. He is eager to take advantage of the opportunity to affect change.

Our kids and the younger voters are a valuable factor to the future of Michigan City and the United States. It is our responsibility to create a culture that promotes their involvement in the political process. When they see their parents, relatives, friends and neighbors voting, they will follow suit. I think students would love to participate in mock elections where they can cast their votes for the candidates. Getting them to volunteer for the various political processes and events is another way to get them excited.

Michigan City's defining moments rests in our hands. Make sure to own your right to vote by spreading the word about it and using it.

Check out the early voting schedule for the Michigan City court house and make it happen. Early voting runs from now through Monday, Nov. 2. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, polls are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Polls are also open Monday on Oct. 19 and Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Polls will open Saturday on Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The last chance to vote early will be Monday, Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to noon. Polls open for the general election at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, and close at 6 p.m.

Agnes Meer is First Lady of Michigan City.

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