House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) proposed lowering the voting age to 16 years old or 17 years old.
“To achieve what we want to do for the middle class, for kids in school, for immigration reform, for all these things, we must change our politics. We must reduce the role of money in politics. We must dare to do that and so we have a dare, disclose, where is this money coming from, this dark money? Amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United. Let’s get out there and mobilize and do it. Reform our campaign system to empower small donors and empower voters with a renewed and strengthened Voting Rights Act, removing obstacles of participation,” Pelosi said at the Make the Progress summit sponsored by the Center for American Progress.
“I’m for – and I’m interested in hearing your thoughts, and I know you’ll let me know – for lowering the voting age to high school age, whether it’s 16 or 17 or, because when kids are in school they’re so interested, they’re so engaged, and we would like them to be ready at least to register before they leave.”
In the speech, Pelosi said the economic indicators under President Obama have been “excellent” aside from income inequality. To support her point, Pelosi drew a contrast between Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush and Obama.
“What more of a contrast could you need but Jeb Bush telling the public that people should work harder so they have more money to spend and the contrast with that in our president, President Obama, said people are working harder, we need to pay them overtime so that they can provide for their families,” she said.
“That’s why we must raise the minimum wage, have equal pay for equal work, and our friends in labor have done so much to make that possible, paid sick leave, issues that relate to childcare to unleash the power of women in the workplace because when women succeed, America succeeds.”
Pelosi also mentioned that Democrats are continuing their push to allow college graduates to refinance their student loans.
During a panel discussion at the conference, Democratic Del. Stacey Plaskett (V.I.) said she had $200,000 in student debt after attending graduate school and law school.
“My entire career has been in public service, which means I will never be able to pay off that loan. And I just decided, you know, what the hell, I’m still going to have a family. I’m still going to do those things and there’s got to be relief for us to be able to be productive citizens and productive people in this country without that gnawing ache,” Plaskett said.