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Making Civics Real Workshop 2: Electoral Politics  
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Workshop 2

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Teacher Perspectives
Student Perspectives
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Student Perspectives: The candidates

Tremayne: During this process, I’ve learned a lot about both candidates. Actually, I live on the same street as Sharp James so I know him personally. But as far as his campaign policy, I didn’t know that much. And now we’re reading different articles on what he’s doing and how he raises money, and some of the things I learned were surprising to me. But I knew nothing about [Cory Booker]. Now that I’ve learned about him, I kind of like some of the things I learned about his style. He’s obviously the younger candidate. He brings ideas in a newer style that maybe Newark hasn’t seen for a long time. Also, no candidate is perfect. The fact that Mayor Sharp James has been mayor for so many years--I think it’s like 16 years now--there are always some flaws. So a new candidate is always going to be appealing because he has these ideas that will [solve] all those problems. I think I will vote for Sharp James because I like the progress that the city has been going through over the years and I feel that if he remains in office, he can continue the same progress.

Quadir: I got more involved with the candidates to see [if] the issues they talk about are the same issues that I’m concerned with.

Maysa: My opinion has changed a lot since we started. When we first started studying, I was just basing my opinion on what I’d heard from other people. It was all for Mayor Sharp James because he’s got experience [and] he’s been in office forever, so why not let him be the mayor again. Sharp James does have experience and Newark has made progress over the last 16 years that he’s been mayor. But Cory Booker has a lot of pointers, like his views on changing Newark and focusing not just on the African American part of the community. We have Caucasians, we have Hispanics, we have Portuguese, and black people. So we have to focus on everything. I agree with some of the things he’s going after, like changing the communities and not in the ways that Sharp James has.

Merissa: I really don’t know that much about [Sharp James] but I know that I often see him [at school events] and he gives support--so that’s one thing that I know about him. He is also around Newark. You see him a lot. I really don’t know that much about [Cory Booker], but I know that he’s a Councilman. And sometimes I watch town hall meetings [on local cable], so I had a chance to watch some of them express issues and things about Newark. The only thing I know about [Duane Smith] is that he is 35 and walks around Newark trying to gain support.

Samuel: The lesser-known candidate, Duane Smith, may not win but through his involvement he’ll bring issues to the floor. My views really haven’t changed because I looked at both sides. But I won’t be able to draw an opinion till we go to the forum with the two candidates. So far you just see them talking about their education and commercials. But you don’t see any plans or what they are actually going to do. So I’m just waiting. I’m going to ask them a couple of questions and I’m taking my time to gather information before I draw an opinion. You may like a candidate but you have to look at all sides of the picture. You can’t jump into something because you may forget something very important that’s being left out. Your candidate might be focusing on one thing that you like but he may bring up something that’s very vital to you that you might realize at the time. If the issue is brought up and presented properly, even though he doesn’t win, it will be very helpful because the current man [may address] that issue because it seemed the community has a strong following for that issue.

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