Citizens of Metea club hosts candidate forum


Chloe Stables

The Citizens of Metea held a candidate forum in the LMC on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Chloe Stables and Isabelle Leofanti

This past week, students from the Citizens of Metea Valley, a non-partisan political action club encouraged Waubonsie and Metea students to attend the candidate fair on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Metea. The intention behind this event was to expand awareness of the candidates running for Congress, the Illinois General Assembly, and Lieutenant Governor to students. Co-chair of Citizens of Metea senior Aarushi Kaul believed in students’ involvement in local elections, especially as early voting started up last week. 

“The main point of this fair is to get students more involved in the political processes and meet the politicians of our area. Many students are unaware of what is going on in our political atmosphere,” Kaul said. “We thought it would be important to get students involved in local elections and let them know that there are things that students can change through their actions.”

The fair’s purpose shined through as the turnout was a success. Students enrolled in government classes, a part of Citizens of Metea, and other interested high school students made attendance, thrilling Citizens of Metea Advisor, Sue Fuhrer. 

“Students should use this opportunity to talk to candidates to realize how important their eventual vote is,” Fuhrer said. “I know that in this election not that many students can vote as you have to be 18 by Nov.  8, but they are learning about the whole process, meeting candidates, and learning how to educate themselves on the issues.”

The Candidate Fair showcased local politicians eager to give their advice to students interested in politics and government. While they shared their opinions on many of society’s controversies, they also emphasized the importance of voting in local elections. 

“Local elections are practice for the bigger decisions students are going to make throughout their lives. Local elections make decisions that affect every individual’s life, such as which side of the street will the sidewalk be on, or ‘should we build a park here or build it somewhere else?”Congressman Bill Foster said. 

Republican Stephaine Trussell, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois added to the significance of being involved during local and larger elections, especially for the new generation.

“How can you say anything if you are not involved,” Trussell said. “Make sure you always stay informed and pay attention. You do not have to be obsessed, but at least be an informed voter. Do not go in on election day and vote blindly. Take a little time, everybody has a computer in their hands and can do a little research. Make sure that you are voting for a person that reflects your values.”

Likewise, 16-year-old Eric Willoughbyz, an intern for state Senator Laura Ellman, was at the forum campaign. From his point of view, he believes it is important for young people to get involved.

“At the end of the day, what happens in the General Assembly, Congress, and the City Council, such as recently passing the assault weapons ban of Naperville sales ban directly correlates to every individual’s vote, that impacts everyone in this room,” Willoughbyz said. “So it is so important that we have resources like Laura or the stateside fighting for healthcare, for example, to grant the right to not have to go into debt to pay for your current condition.”

Even though a portion of individuals a part of the club may want to pursue politics, later on, others might want to focus on other fields outside of campaigning. Despite different pathways, Foster describes the part of politics which is very important, although not publicized as much as a politician running for congress for example.

“My advice for all kids is to take all the math that they can tolerate and then take one more,” Foster said. “Because actually, even in politics some of the most effective work is done by people that do big data analytics. They actually look and say, ‘what are the people thinking right now?’ and they understand the statistics and they can actually operate the computer program. Those are the people that are valuable on the political side.”

District 204´s government core curriculum focuses on student engagement in civics through elections, community problem-solving, and policy-making programs. This curriculum is designed to help in the creation of a greater, more educated citizenry throughout our community. 

Citizens of Metea’s goal is to help students to learn more about the candidates running for different positions in the hope to convince teens who are old enough to consider casting an influential vote that could impact both their life and all lives around them. 

For more information about Citizens of Metea or more information about the forum, you can contact Citizens of Metea Advisor Susan Fuhrer Sue Fuhrer at (630) 375-3551 or [email protected], or reach out to Rish Amsaraj, Citizens of Metea Political Director at [email protected].