Survey: Young voters in NYC focused on climate change, public schools

The next generation of voters in New York City may be one of the most aware and politically engaged generations in decades.

"Young people are concerned about the issues," said Olivia Brady, the Youth Coordinator for the city Campaign Finance Board’s GET OUT THE VOTE program for young people. 

A recent survey conducted by the Citizens' Committee for Children of New York asked 1,400 young voters ranging in age from 14 to 24 what they feel are the most important issues for the next mayor and other elected officials to address. 

Nearly 90 percent of young voters say they want elected officials to take more serious action against climate change. About 80 percent believe public schools need more resources, 35 percent want or need mental health resources, 45 percent said school police officers make them feel safer and 30 percent said they do not.

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"It reveals in very sobering details that the young people, young New Yorkers are suffering and that the pandemic, in fact, has exacerbated inequity that predated the pandemic," said Jennifer March, Executive Director for the Citizen's Committee.

17-year-old high school senior Edward Sanchez of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn is one of the students who helped decide what questions to ask fellow students across the city.

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"We are really concerned about the issues that are going on on the streets, in our schools. You know, how are we going to be able to survive when we become adults. What's our prosperity in the future in such a large city like this," he said.

Sanchez says students are starting to understand that their daily lives are impacted by local government and who is in office.

"We're next in line to vote next term, right.  So, it's the issues that matters for us as well," Sanchez said.

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Olivia Brady says young people struggling with issues like remote learning, race relations, and police-community interactions want more input.

"They're really understanding the way that this is tied to how our local government runs and how our city budget is distributed and how those resources are distributed," Brady said.