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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 December 2006, 10:37 GMT
Young US voters: Jenna

Name: Jenna
Age: 18
Lives: Suffolk, Virginia
Occupation: College student
Current voting intention: Democrat
In 10 words or less:
"A student today, a leader tomorrow"

I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity to vote for the first time in 2008, as it will mark the end of George W Bush and a lamentable chapter in American history.

The American people will have a chance for a new start, a chance to bring our troops home, and an opportunity to rebuild our once respected global reputation.

It also presents us with a chance to address the many issues in our country that have been ignored for long enough.

More than 45 million Americans are uninsured, an estimated 14 million American children attend deteriorating public schools, 6.7 million are unemployed - the list goes on.

America is badly in need of change. I intend to vote for the Democratic Party because I believe they have what it takes to initiate such change.

As a liberal young person, I relate to their stance on social and economic issues, including plans for higher minimum wages, affordable health care, rights for the unborn, and equal opportunity for all.

Many think these issues don't matter to young voters, but they are wrong.

We are just as concerned about rising unemployment and social security reform - this is our future we're talking about, after all.

I don't have a preferred candidate yet. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both been mentioned as possible candidates, and I would happily give either one my vote.

I support Hillary Clinton's policies on the economy, health care and abortion. I also agree with Obama's support for affirmative action in colleges and government, and his reforms to address the growing achievement gap between students. Both candidates have the leadership skills required to make a great president.

Another major issue for me is Hurricane Katrina.

After seeing Spike Lee's film When the Levee Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, a documentary on the government's response to Katrina, I was filled with disgust.

How could the United States government fail the citizens of New Orleans like that? Most of these people were law-abiding, tax-paying citizens, who were essentially left to die.

As an African-American, I could not help but feel that this was confirmation that racism still exists in America today.

Only through taking action and using our votes can we change this kind of attitude for once and for all.

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