With the entire nation currently engrossed in the upcoming elections, area students are no exception.
Riley Gustafson and Kyler Miller are both members of the student senate at Jamestown Community College. As voters and officials of school government, they expressed their impressions of several election topics from the perspective of today's college student.
"I'm a huge fan of Obamacare," said Miller. "Certain parts of it aren't great but as a whole I thought it was phenomenal. I like the fact that President Obama is really pushing for community colleges. If you can't get into regular college, that shouldn't stop you from going to college."
"I want to see President Obama get another four years," said Gustafson. "(The president) can only do so much before it hits the House of Representatives, which happened to be Republican controlled, and that kind of stopped a lot of progress. And for those who say that he hasn't done much, there is more to the presidential position than the American dollar. He passed the Lilly Ledbetter (Fair Pay Act of 2009), he took out bin Laden and toppled Gadhafi. There is a lot of good points to his presidency that get overlooked simply because people have such a focus on money."
"I'm also a fan of his foreign policy," said Miller. "I love how he has courage of conviction when it comes to the decisions he makes. I was watching the most recent presidential debate and was astounded by the fact that Romney, who had these longstanding opinions, switched them yet again. To me, you can't have a president that can't stand up for what he believes in or even have opinions of his own."
"Education is the most important thing, I think, above everything else," said Gustafson. "They're saying that jobs are being created but there just aren't enough skilled workers that have the proper education. The jobs are there but until we can put a lot more focus into trade schools and community colleges, people aren't going to find work. (New York State United Teachers) supports Obama and his re-election. Teachers are very important and have been a big part of my life, so I would vote on that alone."
"The Bill Clinton endorsement is what solidified my vote," said Miller. "He's the only president in such a long time who had such a balanced budget for so many years in a row and if he believes in Obama's plan to fix the economy, that's good enough reason for me to vote for (Obama) right there."
On Friday, Jamestown High School students also got to make their opinions known through the school's mock election campaign, which allowed them to experience the voting process. New voting machines were on-site in the school's library, where students came to sign in, fill out a ballot and cast their vote for the next President of the United States. Juniors Connor Stam, Mikayla Capestrani and Jaime Wright gave their impressions on the research they've gathered on the election.
"One of the things I didn't agree with was Romney trying to get rid of student loans when he takes office," said Stam. "(Romney) can't get just take education away from somebody when he paid less in taxes than we did. And he wants to take a lesser government approach toward everybody and focus everything on the military. It's not just about the military, it's about the small businesses. He wants to tax them more, whereas Obama wants everybody to have equal tax and focus more on education."
"I'm leaning more Democrat because I don't like how Romney is getting rid of education," said Capestrani. "He's saying you have to get loans from your parents and some parents can't supply that for their kids. And I liked how Obama is saying that abortion should be based on the woman's decision."
"I'm leaning more Republican because my views on abortion are different from Mikayla's," said Wright. "There are some Democratic views that I agree with, like the death sentence and sending troops, but I am more Republican than Democrat."
Since the beginning of the school year, the students have been following the presidential race and researching candidate backgrounds under the direction of U.S. History and Government teachers, Tage Hall and Loraine Steffens.
"The overall thing is that we want to produce not only better students but better citizens," said Hall.
"We wanted them to tear apart what they see in the media and fact check things," said Steffens.
At the end of the school day, the mock election results were tallied. A total of 733 students voted, 511 voted for Obama and 175 voted for Romney.