By Morgan Bluma
With the increasing infections of COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election advancing, access to affordable health care is at the forefront of Michelle Casanova’s concerns.
Casanova is a sophomore in the School of International Service at American University. She is currently the Vice President of the America University League of United Latin American Citizens (AU LULAC). AU LULAC is an advocacy group focused on issues the Latinx community face while assisting in professional development like resume building, career searching and scholarship opportunities.
“I would really love to see a president whose elected that can get health care to support American citizens instead of just kind of leaving them to dry during a pandemic,” Casanova said. “I think that’d be really great.”
Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Casanova came to Washington, D.C., looking for career opportunities involved in politics that also gave her the “big city vibe” she craved. Since Casanova is registered to vote in New Mexico, she will be voting by mail, which raises some concerns.
“I think a lot of young people just don’t vote, in general,” Casanova said, “which is very problematic for obvious reasons, just because there needs to be true democratic representation within legislation and who’s chosen as a candidate.”
She said mail-in voting is important for voters in lower socioeconomic communities where voting polls are limited.
“They’re less encouraged to vote, especially those that are predominately people of color, and that’s obviously no coincidence, but that’s why mail-in voting is so important,” said Casanova.
Mail-in voting is also incredibly important during COVID-19, particularly for immunocompromised individuals, who cannot attend in-person voting, she said.
Casanova said many politicians will say whatever to please the majority to get elected but once they are in office, they will focus on what they want to change, especially in Trump’s administration.
“I know he’s trying to build the wall but hasn’t really been that successful,” Casanova said.
She has more trust in local legislative officials on handling individuals’ concerns like access to affordable health care but also said pharmaceutical companies are corporations with a lot of power over legislation. In terms of the current administration, Casanova said she has no hope in their ability to handle the health care crisis.
“I have hope for our generation whenever we get into politics,” Casanova said. “I think a lot of our generation is focused on more socialist issues and, I think, more empathy.”
She is hopeful when her generation transitions into politics, more empathy will be in the legislation passed.
“Trump is trying to remove DACA and that is awful,” Casanova said. “If you have empathy for people who are undocumented, I’d hope you’d feel passionate to vote him out.”
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