Emails? Monica? Benghazi? What 18-year-olds want Hillary Clinton to talk about


Fusion spoke with nearly a dozen 18-year-olds about what they would ask Hillary Clinton if they had the chance. Their answers might surprise you.

1. Karina Padron
School: New York University
Hometown: Miami, Florida

I certainly hope she addresses foreign policy concerns. Her being former secretary of state, she would be a great candidate to look at those issues. It would be good to reevaluate our relationship with Israel, because it has certainly been a less-than-happy relationship between Obama and Netanyahu. It would be very wise to start looking into more comprehensive programs about what can be done in Syria [and about ISIS]. Coming off the tail of what just happened with her in the email scandal, transparency is something that has become important to young people. Young people want to be spoken to in a way they feel is actually productive, not in abstract terms. I think a lot of people see her as this sort of uptight, uncompromising woman who doesn’t look at things from multiple perspectives. [Obama] seemed like a guy you could sit down and have a beer with.

2. Frans Nicholas
School: James Madison University
Hometown: Doylestown, Pennsylvania

I hope she talks about the debt and deficit spending and getting that under control. I hope she talks about Obamacare and reforming or ending it. Because it all rests on us, and our generation has all of these issues because the generation before us can’t run the show. It will be our generation’s responsibility to clean up their mess. We are a new generation and we want our voices heard. We live in a changing world and we need leaders who can adapt to it. Obama did a terrible job as president. He spent incredible amounts of money and he has given so much power to the government to regulate business. It is choking the economy, and reform is needed.

3. Bronwen Espen
School: Denison University
Hometown: Bowling Green, Ohio

I really hope that Hillary Clinton talks about fostering community, not only for white women, but women of all backgrounds. I would love to see Hillary come up with some initiatives to make the feminist community a little more open to women of all backgrounds. Regardless of age, we all have the same needs, reproductive needs, health needs, it doesn’t matter how old, we still, at the end of the year, deserve and need the same rights. Young people are very open and we’re willing to listen to ideas, willing to take initiative and willing to do what we can. The millennial generation, there’s a stereotype that we don’t want to get invested in politics, but personally, that’s not true, we still would love to get involved in politics. There are lots of us and we know how to mobilize.

4. Makynzie Horvath
School: Denison University
Hometown: Rockford, Ohio

I really hope she talks about reproductive health care and allowing access to abortions or contraceptives to women. I just feel like it’s really important to be able to choose and I don’t think the government should be in charge of that. It’s very scary and alarming that these statesmen can take away our power. I really hope she knows that we have a voice and we’re very passionate about these different social issues and we’re kind of the next generation that’s going to go on and take these roles. We’re very passionate about what we believe in and just trying to make the world a better place.

5. Mitchell Howland
School: James Madison University
Hometown: Howard County, Maryland

I hope she would talk about job employment and solving the national healthcare debate. These issues are important to me because they are the two biggest things in my life right now and will be for the next ten years. [Young people] are worried about the low job opportunities that are out there. I would tell her to do what is best for this nation as a whole, and to continue working how to make this country a better place.

6. Nicole Genge
School: Longwood College
Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia

If Mrs. Clinton runs, I hope she addresses her downfalls instead of placing the blame on others. This goes for both her personal life as well as the country’s affairs too. I also hope she can keep her ideas, or make her ideas, more mainstream and agreeable. Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are guilty of this, but an example of this is the abortion issue and gay marriage. I feel passionately about the pro-life movement, as should everyone. [Young people] aren’t all uninformed and we are able to see through false statements just as well as any adult. I would tell her that she is [wasting] her time. Her time in the White House has come and gone.

7. Samantha Mayo
School: Longwood College
Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia

If Hillary were to run for president, I would look forward to hearing her talk about American relations with Israel, a formal stance and plan of action on the Ukraine-Russia conflict, more open dialogue from her regarding the federal investigations into her email scandal, and welfare reform. Regarding her private emails, I believe Hillary owes the American public an explanation as to why these emails are not accessible under “the most transparent administration in history.” Welfare reform is also an important topic because the system today is being manipulated by many individuals who are unfairly receiving benefits. My generation cannot be lumped together into a category of young liberals; we all have different opinions and causes that are important to us. I would tell Mrs. Clinton that as much as I respect the offices she has held, she has not earned my respect nor my vote.

8. Noah Goldblatt
School: Skidmore College
Hometown: Simsbury, Connecticut

I hope that she would address the topics of LGBTQ rights, not just limited to marriage, issues concerning African Americans, and women’s rights and feminism. I would want her to know that young people are very involved, we are the people in the streets protesting the unjust persecution of African Americans like Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin after there were no repercussions for their murderers. We are the ones realizing that we will not be subject to racist, homophobic, or sexist ways anymore, and that these are old policies that should not and will not exist.  If I had the chance to talk to Clinton, I would tell her that every person counts just as much as the next person, regardless of how much money we have. Each person counts regardless of their sex or gender (be they cis, trans, or other), race, sexual orientation, or social class.

9. Jeffery Mangold
School: James Madison University
Hometown: Leesburg, Virginia

If Hillary Clinton runs for president, some major issues I hope she talks about include the current state of the economy, international threats, and domestic social issues such as equal rights for women, the gay population and minorities. Those issues are important to me because I can see the effect it has first-hand on people. I want her to know that young people and this generation will have a huge impact in what the U.S. will be 30 years from now, so we should try to keep them informed because most are ignorant to the things going around us. I would tell her to not follow the agenda of the party she represents but to do things in office that will truly benefit America.

10. Elizabeth Harten
School: George Washington University
Hometown: Salem, Massachusetts

I hope she would talk about reducing the cost of higher education, gun control, reducing our environmental impact and how we’re going to proceed in the Middle East. I think as a young person, these appear to be the most prominent in my life right now. While there are many other great issues coming up in the future, such as social security, these seem the most relevant now. I’d want her to know that she should reach out to us because if we get to the polls, our opinions (which generally would be in her favor) could make a very large difference.

Fusion connected with these 18-year-olds through several organizations with youth chapters, including the American Association of University Women and Planned Parenthood, as well as on several college campuses and over social media. These responses, collected in-person, over the phone and by email, have been edited for clarity and length.

Kevin Joyce contributed reporting.

Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.

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