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On Luther student voting and Kayla Koether

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I write to the Luther community, and in particular Luther students, for two reasons. The first is to encourage you to vote in the midterm elections next Tuesday, Nov. 6. Why? Your vote matters—both at the state and federal level.

For example, as a result of legislation over the last two years in Iowa, it is now more difficult for Iowans, including college students, to vote. The natural areas and waterways of northeast Iowa, which Luther students treasure, are now being cared for by a starving Department of Natural Resources that has seen its budget cut in half. Funding for higher education has also been reduced. At the federal level, decisions are being made that will impact your future opportunities for health care, earning a middle-class income, and living in a sustainable environment. 

“Perhaps more than anything, your vote matters in terms of how you wish to support, or not, the current rhetoric and policies that are having profound impacts on how human beings treat one another and live in community.”

-Jodi Enos-Berlage

Perhaps more than anything, your vote matters in terms of how you wish to support, or not support, the current rhetoric and policies that are having profound impacts on how human beings treat one another and live in community. Without a doubt, younger voters (18-24) have the most to lose in terms of long-term election impacts, yet they unfortunately have the lowest voter turnout rate of any age group, nationally and in Iowa according to U.S. Census Data. Luther students, consider it a challenge to upend this statistic. The potential for young people to determine the political landscape is huge — particularly now, when there are a large number of close races in Iowa, and the country, at the local, state, and federal level. Last spring, a major decision with regards to a municipal electrical utility was held in Decorah—one that likely had substantial financial and sustainability impacts for Luther College; it was decided by three votes — THREE votes. Every vote matters; every single one.

Finally, I write to encourage you to consider voting for a courageous young candidate, a relatively recent graduate of Grinnell College that represents your generation. Her name is Kayla Koether, and she is running for Iowa House District 55. Koether has inspired me like no other. In a world that feels as if all in politics has turned toxic and divided, Koether offers the opposite — a willingness to listen and to collaborate, coupled with the leadership to show others the way. Strikingly authentic and committed to serving all, Koether is a uniter, rather than a divider. She serves as an antidote to the current political venom. Importantly, she will provide an outstanding, needed, and invaluable voice for young people — including Luther College students, in the Iowa Statehouse.

The voting site for Luther students on Tuesday, November 6 is Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and same-day registration is available, provided you have a photo ID with an expiration date and the emailed proof of residence from the Student Life Office. Regardless of your political affiliations, make the time. If you have never voted before, know that it feels like you are doing something important…because you are.

Signed,

Jodi Enos-Berlage

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