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Elections 2012: The aftermath

By Jonathan Reyes-Sales | Pulse Staff Reporter

Elections
President Obama meeting with George Lopez and professors at Canyon Springs High School in Las Vegas. (Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS)

2012's elections have passed, shaken, upset and pleased Palo Alto College's faculty, staff and primarily its students with opinions about the results and how education and the community will be affected.

On Nov. 6, news broke at a quarter past ten that President Obama had been re-elected.

"It was a close one. It was what I expected," said Madalitt Martinez, senior secretary of the Social Sciences Department. "I'm happy with the result. I'm hoping [Obama] can create a better medical and a better education program...so people like myself won't get stuck."

Jillian Ozuna, Student Government Association vice president, received the results from a Democratic watch party.

"I'm very happy. I just feel [Obama] is more for education...financial aid is a main priority. Hopefully, his win will push people to become higher educated.”

Her biggest fear going into the election was a potential win from Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. "It would've been the end of the world," she said.

Rebecca Aguilar, a sophomore Psychology major, said, "I would've boycotted against [Romney's] appeals. [Romney] wasn't serving the minorities. They're now becoming the majority. Republicans are decreasing in numbers, and their views aren't consistent with the country. Texas is as red as it gets, but its biggest cities and its people are blue.”

Grace Luna, a sophomore Liberal Studies major, said,“[Romney's] policies were against helping education. He wanted to repeal the Dreamer's Act…I know [students] who were born outside the U.S. and have grown up and complete their education here. I feel they have just as much of a right to continue to go to school and to live in this country as much as I do. They should be worrying about their grades, not deportation.”

Among the election results was the passing of Mayor Julian Castro's "Pre-K 4 SA" program that aims to help 22,400 4-year-old children over the span of eight years by allowing them to enter pre-kindergarten at a younger age.

"I had mixed feelings about Pre-K 4 SA until I actually voted...education shouldn't be limited to certain people," said Martinez.

Frank Rodriguez, a freshman Political Science major, said, "I'm not for it. I'm not against [Pre K-4 SA]. Some people need the assistance, but some don't and abuse it.”

Compared to the 2008 election, 2012 saw higher numbers in young voters. The national voter turnout for ages 18-29 was 49.3 percent according to reports from the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). Young voters rose from forming 18 percent of the electorate in 2008 to making 19 percent in 2012’s election.

Minorities, primarily the Hispanic community, also saw an increase in numbers. According to latinovotemap.org, many states on the East and West coast saw minorities turn out and vote. Texas’ numbers, however, still lag behind, even though the election revealed more minorities in Texas were elected to office.

Republican Ted Cruz was elected to the U.S. Senate. Democrat Pete Gallego beat incumbent Republican Francisco Canseco for the 23rd Congressional District. Mayor Castro’s brother, Joaquin Castro, was elected to the 20th Congressional District.

"I felt proud because we're starting to see minorities like myself becoming the majority," said Rodriguez.

As for the prospects in the years to come, Aguilar said, "I hope the U.S. can withdraw and help diffuse tense situations around the world and focus on the issues that really matter to us, like education, marriage equality, and the economy."

Luna said, "I hope to see states working together for the greater good of its people. Although I doubt it may happen, I hope Texas really doesn't secede from the country. It would be like turning back the clock of progress on our state. The U.S. is still young…and has plenty of progress to continue to go through. We're not there, but we're getting there."