Howard Dean

Former governor of Vermont emphasizes the power of young voters

If you want to see the direction of America’s future, Howard Dean suggests you listen carefully to the opinions and concerns of today’s college students.

Howard Dean addresses the Randolph College community.“If you’re sitting down with 18- and 20-year-olds, you’re learning about where the country is going,” said Dean, whose broad political experience as a 2004 presidential candidate, former governor of Vermont, and past chairman of the Democratic National Committee was the basis for a public lecture on the state of politics hosted by Randolph College in October.

During his visit to campus, Dean also met with Randolph students to discuss the economy, healthcare, and climate change. He told them that young voters can wield hefty voting power.

“President Obama was elected by people under 35. It was the first time in my life in politics that more people under 35 voted than people over 65,” Dean said. “It’s a very big generational change.”

Dean’s presidential bid inspired Patrick Glynn ’12 to study politics. “Meeting Howard Dean was an incredible experience,” he said. “While he speaks largely as a Democrat, he is not afraid to go against the party’s normal platform and stand up for what he believes is right. He has a lot of faith in our generation, and I agree that it will be our responsibility to change American politics the way we see fit.”

Dean recalled how some of his young staffers saw the benefits of the Internet as a campaign tool during his presidential bid. It is an example, he said, of a new generation using technology and different problem solving methods to create change.

“The extraordinary thing about this generation of college students is that what they want to do is find common ground with others as opposed to battling people over the things that they can’t agree on,” Dean said.

“They all have friends of different races. They have friends who are gay, friends of different immigrant statuses and religions, and they all take that in stride. That’s the new America.”