“Waking up in Iowa this morning was a surreal experience. I was excited for today because I knew I would find out which candidate’s campaign I would be working with for the rest of the weekend. During breakfast, they revealed to us our assignments and I was chosen to work on Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign. Senator Cruz was my first choice and I was ecstatic to begin helping his campaign.
After we were assigned our candidates, all the students from Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Coachella came together to brainstorm questions we wanted to ask Iowa representatives at capitol. After speaking with the other youth, I noticed that my questions were very different than the questions from other students. I think coming from the eastern Coachella Valley and a rural community, I have a different perspective than the other students. But I was surprised by how we all agreed that it was our job to help prepare our country for the future no matter which political party we favor.
Today’s highlight was when I arrived at the Iowa State Capitol. I was fascinated by the building and the history. During our stay at the Capitol, I got to listen in on some key speakers in Supreme Court Chamber. The speakers were discussing the issue of education and school funding. Immediately, I thought of how these issues being discussed here in Iowa are also important to us in the eastern Coachella Valley. Even though I am far from my home right now, I am able to see how education is an important issue throughout the nation.
After our trip to the capitol, it was time to meet up with our assigned campaigns. Once I got to Cruz’s campaign office, I was given a crash course that I now call, “Cruz 101.” I was taught about questions people might ask me and soon enough I was making calls to people in Iowa. I enjoyed speaking with people about the future of America and I enjoyed talking to people who were educated about the candidate. It was, by far, the best part of my day. I have to admit I was very nervous at first, but by the end of time at the office, I had called 45 people in Iowa.”
— Karla Martinez
“I only slept for about three hours last night. But I can’t complain because my roommates were great and I enjoyed meeting new people.
After eating breakfast, we traveled to the Iowa State Capitol. While I was there, I got speak with two Iowa representatives, one Democrat and one Republican. I asked them what their views were on taxing the top one percent and the Democrat said she thought it was necessary but the Republican quickly opposed. It was a interesting to hear them debate their viewpoints and I’m glad I got to speak with very opinionated people about their views.
After talking with the representatives, I took a tour of the Capitol building. There was an amazingly large library and a beautiful ceiling. After the tour, we went out for lunch. Do you know how hard it is to travel with 140 kids on more than 30 vans?
Earlier in the day, I found out that I was assigned to work on Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign. At Rubio’s campaign office, I was asked to make phone calls. That was a very interesting experience because not everyone was for Rubio. Some people were nice and some were irritated but I understand that it is just part of the process.
This has been an amazing experience so far, but right now I am exhausted so I’m heading to bed early!”
— Naomi Carrion
About the authors:
Karla Martinez has been a youth reporter with Coachella Unincorporated for two years, where she has produced numerous articles and reflections on issues like community violence prevention to voter registration. In April 2015, Karla won the Young Lady of the Year Award for Riverside County District 4 for her work with the Land Use Planning Awareness project. View Karla’s author page here.
Naomi Carrion is a senior at Nova Academy in Coachella, Calif. Naomi joined Coachella Uninc. this fall as an apprentice and she is excited to make a difference in her community through her writing. Naomi also enjoys art and math. She hopes to attend college next year to major in math. View Naomi’s author page here.