Daniel Schwarz recently joined Charlotte Dems and became our youngest member. Only 18, he is a junior at Florida Gulf Coast University, studying Political Science and Criminal Justice. Daniel skipped two years of college by earning both his high school diploma and an associate’s degree through a dual enrollment program at his high school. Because he was in high school, “there wasn’t any tuition for the associate’s degree,” Daniel said.
While he has plans to go to graduate school, he said he will try to get an internship with a county emergency management or state attorney office after graduation. Graduate school is extremely expensive, and “the federal government doesn’t give loans for grad school,” Daniel said. “Private school loans are very expensive.”
Daniel isn’t the only student worried about the high costs to attend college. “I did a little research and the average cost for a public university is $20-23,000 a year, including tuition, housing, food, and books,” he said. Student debt is an extremely critical problem. According to a Forbes.com story, more than 44 million students owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.
Daniel offers some insights in trying to get young people involved in politics. “There is a lack of interest. Many don’t care because they aren’t informed enough to form an opinion. They are very frustrated by the name calling and care less about tribal politics.” Daniel’s generation “cares more about actually helping people. A big drawback is it’s [politics] is too nasty. They don’t want to see leaders calling each other names.”
The younger generation also feels frustrated by the older generation, Daniel says. He relays a sentiment that should sound familiar. Younger people feel like they are being shut down. “We offer our opinions but the older generation says that we are too young to understand. If you want opinions, you need to listen.” His approach is to be positive and “stay away from name calling. Talk with people respectfully and to listen to what others have to say.”
Daniel is eager to be involved in with Charlotte Dems. He likes how they are actively working to change opinions in Charlotte County. “This is a very red county. It’s important to make sure people know there are two sides to an issue.” He thinks the Get Out The Vote and voter registration efforts are very important and will work to recruit young folks to join us. Having grown up with social media, Daniel will also help the Communications Committee target our messages out to the younger audiences.
Let’s extend a hearty welcome to Daniel and hopefully, more young citizens will follow him through our door.