ServiceNation closely follows the presidential primary elections
The presidential primary elections are heating up! As the field narrows, ServiceNation has continued to put pressure on every candidate to include youth service and a service year as a campaign issue. In the past year, every remaining candidate has emphasized the importance of service. Over the next few months, ServiceNation will push candidates to outline detailed plans on how they will expand service if elected as our nation’s next president.
Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner, noted to a ServiceNation volunteer that many young people had been asking about his plans for service, and it is an issue that he would seriously evaluate. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, is gaining momentum on Trump and had much to say on service at a New Hampshire town hall on February 7:
I think we should encourage public service in every capacity… As president, I hope to champion [public service] and speak out for it and encourage everyone to make a positive and meaningful difference in our communities and in the lives of those around us.
Similarly, Marco Rubio highlighted that making a service year an opportunity for all Americans should be a priority for the next president. Governor John Kasich of Ohio has also praised national service: “I became convinced that AmeriCorps could really make a difference after spending some time with AmeriCorps [members]… I think the idea of national service is obviously fantastic…For young people who have high student debt…the idea that you can do national service to work off some of that big college debt, is important and is something that really has my attention.”
The Democratic race has grown increasingly competitive after Bernie Sanders took home wins in Kansas, Nebraska and Maine this weekend, but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the frontrunner. When Clinton won the Nevada caucuses on February 20, her victory speech expressed a commitment to expanding national service:
It can’t just be about what we’re going to give to you, it has to be what we’re going to build together. Your generation is the most tolerant and connected that our country has ever seen. In the days ahead we will propose new ways for more Americans to get involved in national service and give back to our communities because every one of us has a role to play in building the future we want.
While Sanders has not mentioned national service in recent months, he demonstrated interest in national service last spring in New Hampshire and cited it as a way to decrease youth unemployment and student debt. We hope that Sanders will include national service as part of his political revolution!