Shepherdstown, W.Va. – Election Day is quickly approaching, and many Shepherd University students either have already voted or are ready to.
Earlier this semester, The Picket reporters Amanda Barber and Iyee Jagne interviewed Shepherd students about their opinions on the presidential election.
Shepherd soccer player Tongwa Aka is hoping the election will result in a change of leadership. Aka said he is disappointed with President Donald Trump’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s just back and forth with Trump and his leadership,” Aka said. “I think if we had someone who was better prepared and better able to make such hard decisions, especially in the time of the coronavirus, we wouldn’t have lost so many people to the pandemic.”
Another issue Aka is concerned about is affordable health insurance.
“A lot of people rely on health insurance to really provide for them, just so they know they’re safe,” Aka said. “Without having that in place, it’s dangerous for a lot of people.”
Peter Proctor, president of the Stubblefield Institute Student Advisory Council, shares similar concerns about affordable health care. In addition, he is focused on gun reform and the economy.
“I personally think the economy is extremely important because right now we are in trillions of dollars worth of debt, and until the country is out of that trillions of dollars worth of debt, we are not going to be able to get health care and do all of these things that people want,” Proctor said.
Proctor is also focused on LGBTQ+ rights and Black Lives Matter. Proctor said he is particularly concerned about racism and police brutality against people of color.
“It’s really horrifying some of the things that are happening, like Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery,” Proctor said. “Basically everything that’s happened–I see all of that, and it honestly just breaks my heart.”
Senior Shepherd student Juneau Daggs agrees that racism is an important issue in the United States.
“I’m concerned with the direction our country is taking and how race is playing into all the problems happening as of late, especially with our current leader,” Daggs said.
Daggs said although he wishes there was a different choice of candidates, he will be voting for Democratic nominee Joe Biden because he believes that is the better option.
Proctor has already voted via absentee ballot, and he urges others to practice their right to vote.
“It’s extremely important because there are so many countries around the world where people literally have their voting rights taken away,” Proctor said. “We are a democratic society, and you should take advantage of that because that’s your right.”
Aka has also submitted his absentee ballot, and he believes voting in this election is the first step to the change he wishes to see.
“It’s a matter of moving forward and trying to do better, which means going out and voting,” Aka said. “This means putting the right people in the right positions to make the right choices–the choices that we want for the country.”