The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

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    Where to Start in Local Politics

    In light of the many tragic mass shootings, climate warnings, and terrible news, it’s hard to be a student and witness such horrendous information. Clubs spring up to combat all the issues our generation is set to inherit. But one question is always heard through the halls, during the walkouts, and in Jorge Pardo’s Spanish class. “What does this accomplish?” There’s a strange disconnect between students and the conditions they’re living under, with actual policymaking seemingly far from a student’s grasp. However, this notion is false, especially in a small state like Delaware. The privilege, education, and opportunities Wilmington Friends School provides further close that divide. Here are the basics on how to be politically active in Delaware for dummies, by a dummy.
    First, it’s worth understanding the division of local government, which is separate from the federal government. Delaware has three counties: New Castle (up North), Kent (in the middle), and Sussex (at the bottom). Between those three counties are 41 districts for the DE House of Representatives, and 21 districts for the DE Senate. The landmass of DE is 1,982 miles, meaning that each of the 62 state legislators represents an average of 32 miles. Also, the Northern districts are smaller than the Southern districts (since there are more people in the North than in the South). Of the House (remember, the 41 districts/representatives) only 15 of these 41 are Republicans, who generally become more successful the more South you go. In our state Senate (the other 21), only seven are Republican, following the same trend as the House. While the only parties represented are Democrats and Republicans, that doesn’t mean all Republicans run on the same platform, nor do all Democrats. I’ve been personally involved with the DE Working Families Party, which is on the more progressive side of the Democrats. Legislature from this branch of Democrats, like The Green Amendment, have been stalled by more conservative members of the Democratic Party. This is all to say that Delaware politics are nuanced, and odds are you can find a representative or a platform that supports almost any legislative idea you have.
    While having a legislative idea is a starting point, that’s generally where most student efforts end. Since we have such a perceived gap between students and policy-makers, outside of protests and clubs, there’s not much we can do to get our ideas solidified in our state legislature. However, we DO have the ability to write and organize, which has come in tremendously handy over the years. I work for YES! – a student-led organization that works with Dee Durham, a City Councilwoman. YES! has hosted some incredible speakers over the years, from Lisa Blunt Rochester to the Sierra Club’s president. And their message is always the same after their keynote speeches; We WANT to work with you. Ultimately, it’s all about making connections within the community and expressing some interest. Adults want you to make a difference – it takes the pressure off of them. Furthermore, it prepares you for when you can make a difference by voting, by helping you understand what you stand for.

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    About the Contributor
    Pablo Charriez, Columnist, Copy Editor
    Pablo Charriez is a third-year writer for the Whittier, second-year Columnist, and first-year Copy-Editor. He loves the research that comes with an article, and the late-night exhilaration of barely meeting a deadline, or finding the perfect sentence in an introduction. By editing the paper as well, he hopes to allow others the same opportunity. His columns and previous writing focus on politics, global and domestic, but with a focus on in-state politics this year, as it should allow for more interviews and a closer connection to the subject matter. Besides Whittier, he also spends his time clerking for FFF, Eco-Team, World Affairs, and YES!.

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