Chicago students campaign in New Hampshire

January 4, 2008 4:02:31 PM PST
For the next five days students, representing 12 Chicago area high schools will get some hands on political experience.

The students are part of an organization called the 'Mikva Challenge,' named after the former Congressman Abner Mikva. The students, who left for New Hampshire Friday morning from Midway Airport, get to pick the candidate they will work for. And just because they are from the dark blue state of Illinois does not mean they are all going to work for the Democrats.

The eight presidential candidates are going to get some help from the group of students who are not even old enough to vote. The 'Mikva Challenge' students will be knocking on doors, making phone calls, and passing out campaign flyers.

"I hope to get a first hand experience on what actually goes on behind thd scenes in the campaigning process and I'm excited about this because my intended major is political science," said senior Verneisha Gair.

"Maybe I'll have a better understand of exactly how the presidential primary works," said Bahati Mwitula, a freshman.

The 60 Chicago area high school students will get a behind-the-scenes look at one the country's most important primary elections.

"This is the next generation of political leaders and campaign managers. What I want them to do is get excited about politics and that is what happens because it's fun," said Mikva Organizer Brian Brady.

Each student got to choose the candidate he or she wants to work for. Victoria Kelly, a junior, will support the campaign of Thursday night's Republican winner, Mike Huckabee.

"He won Iowa yesterday, which is really great. Hopefully, he will win them all and become the Republican nominee. He has a lot of the same views as I do," said junior Victoria Kelly.

Many of the students are going to help out the Democratic frontrunner in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton.

"I just believe in her moral values and her beliefs. So, I'm pretty happy about that. That's why I support her," said Juan Salgado, a junior.

"I was supporting Clinton because I think that since she was also the first lady, she probably has experience with her husband going through a lot of problems. So she would be really, really good." said sophomore Raheel Anwer.

Freshman Ashley Ross will work for Mitt Romney.

"I think I want to see what else people stand for. I want to see what he really stands for," she said.

Still, the majority of the students going to New Hampshire Friday will be working for the candidate from Chicago.

"I really support everything Barack Obama stands behind. So, I feel strongly about his campaign and I think he can make a change," said freshman Anthony Johnson.

"Me and him have the same kind of issues. We believe in the same things. I believe he can do better for our state as senator, but I believe he could do better as the president also," said senior Ricky Harris Jr.

The Mikva Challenge took another group of students to Iowa last week.