#PeopleOfPeace: Professor Dr. Elizabeth Kusko Speaks at News & Observer Panel On Midterm Elections
WPU Professor Elizabeth Kusko, DA, spoke as a panelist last week at the News & Observer’s Community Voices forum on the importance of the midterm elections. She and three other panelists discussed the candidates and items that are on the Nov. 6 ballot, and most importantly — what it could mean for North Carolina.
“If you want elected officials to care about the things you care about, then you have to vote them in.”
The News & Observer hosts a regular community forum where expert panelists are invited to discuss local and statewide issues for audience members. Dr. Beth Kusko, who is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at WPU, was asked to join the panel at the North Carolina Museum of History to discuss the candidates and amendments that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
One of the hot button discussion topics that the panel discussed was what the result of North Carolina’s congressional district election could mean for the state and nation. All of North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts are up for election and according to Dr. Kusko, North Carolina could play a big part in a potential shift in the United States House of Representatives if certain seats flip from red to blue. Dr. Kusko and her fellow panelists fielded questions from the audience on potential outcomes of a sudden shift of the House.
Other big topics panelists discussed are the six proposed amendments to the North Carolina Constitution, each of which would affect various parts of statewide legislation. Each amendment will be voted on individually and Dr. Kusko recommends that voters read each of the changes carefully when voting for or against them.
One of the more bipartisan discussion topics that was addressed by Dr. Kusko and the panelists was on voter turnout in regards to Millennial and Generation Z voters. Panelists discussed what the lack of turnout of young voters could mean for current and future elections.
“Go protest and march, and tweet, but you also have to go vote.”
“If just 50% of Millennial voters turn out, they will be the largest voting block, overtaking baby boomers,” said Dr. Kusko. “It’s not that Millennials [and Generation Z] aren’t engaged, they’re just doing it in different ways. They’re boycotting things and they’re marching in protests. They’re speaking out and exercising their political rights in the same ways that other generations do but it’s not necessarily at the polls — which is detrimental.”
Along with teaching Political Science at WPU, Dr. Kusko is the University’s Program Director for Criminal Justice, Pre-Law and Political Science, which makes her a big proponent of citizens exercising their right to vote. She urges Millennial and Generation Z voters to get to the polls and let their voices be heard, and even joked that she would volunteer to drive WPU students to the polls in a bus if she could.
For information on polling locations, candidates and amendments on the ballot in North Carolina, please visit www.ncsbe.gov.
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