Thursday, November 6, 2008
I think the happiest person in the whole room was the blonde woman in the picture above. Her name is Suzanne Gelderman and she was the Utah State Director for the Obama for America campaign. The girl with the red hair is a friend of mine from school, Maggie Flanigan. She's only a ninth grader, but she was the volunteer coordinator for the Obama campaign for the entire state of Utah! She was pretty happy, too. And she proves that you really don't have to be old enough to vote to make a difference in an election.
Another very happy person in the room was our congressman, Representative Jim Matheson, who was elected to serve another term in the US House of Representatives in DC. Congressman Matheson's son Will is only a couple of years younger than me, so he and Wes and I hung out while his dad was being interviewed by the tv stations and our parents were talking.
There were so many parties on election night that we could have stayed out all night and still not made it to all of them. But we were really tired, so we decided to go home after we stopped by a couple of parties that were at the same hotel where we were. On our way out the door, we ran into the Salt Lake City Mayor, Ralph Becker. We talked to him for a minute, then called it a night. It was a fun and exhausting day.
First, I went with my dad. The ballot started with the President of the United States and went down from there to the local races. I pretty much knew who my dad wanted to vote for, but on a couple of the items, like judges and referendums, I had to ask him to point to the one he wanted.
On one race, my dad wasn't really excited about either candidate. So he told me that I could WRITE-IN a candidate! It was so cool. My dad told me that he didn't care who I wrote in, but that I had to take my vote seriously and write in someone who could actually serve in that role. In other words, I couldn't vote for Mickey Mouse or SpongeBob. I won't tell who I wrote in, but the person would have been a really good choice, in my opinion, even though they weren't officially running for office.
Then, Mom checked Wes out of school at lunch and I went to the polling place again with them. At the polling place (which for us is a funeral home!), we saw former Congresswoman Karen Shephard who served in Congress with our dad (the pic to the left is us with Rep. Shephard). Then it was time for Wesley to help mom vote.
In Utah, where I live, you get a thing that looks like a credit card that you stick in the machine so that the machine knows that you are a valid voter. Then you use a touch screen to vote for the person you think will do the best job in office. So Wesley voted for mom. It took about seven or eight minutes. Not long. Then we got something for Wes to eat and took him back to school.
The list in front of me on the desk is one of the three lists I called from on election day.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
If your local high school has a TV station and would like a higher resolution version of the PSA's to broadcast, let us know and we will get it out to them ASAP. Help us make sure that all of the registered voters remember to go to the polls on November 4th!
Monday, October 20, 2008
The youngest worker we found was three. She was helping to get mailers ready to send to residents. There were more than a dozen kids who were ages 12 and under who were working on mailers, answering calls and dispensing the snacks to other volunteers. The kids who were over 12 were calling voters in Colorado and reminding them to register to vote. It was awesome to see so many kids involved in the political process.
The next day, Jonah and I got up early and went to a restaurant in Denver to meet other volunteers and get our lists of homes to visit. Then we went to different neighborhoods and registered people to vote by mail. I speak Mandarin, and Jonah speaks Spanish and French. Our foreign language skills came in handy when we spoke with several families who were voting citizens but spoke very little English. On Saturday, we got to have sushi for lunch (yum!). We walked neighborhoods for 8 hours on Saturday and two hours on Sunday. We visited almost 200 homes and registered dozens of new voters and voters who had moved to new precincts. We felt really good knowing that we had helped to get so many people registered to vote in an important swing state.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
During the meet and greet, we gave all of the guys Rock the Vote buttons and talked to them about Kids Rock The Vote. We were excited when several of the guys wore their Rock the Vote buttons on stage.
Finally, they opened the door for the concert and we went to the Plain White T's merchandise table where we were planning to meet the PWT's again to film a Kids Rock The Vote PSA. One problem: They stopped my mom at the door and wouldn't let her take her video camera inside the center. Yeah. So, no Get Out The Vote PSA with the Plain White T's. That was a huge bummer.
So, in the pic above Shawn and I are rockin out to Dashboard Confessional. We were stoked when Brandon Urie from Panic at the Disco opened their set with a shout out to remind everyone in the audience (who's old enough, of course) to vote. So that was cool. In the pic below on the right, I'm lovin Panic At The Disco. In the pic on the left and lower right, Sarah, Hannah, Sarah, Will and Jonah are rockin and candling with the PWT's. The concert was AWESOME!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
We will be getting together with the bands to film PSA's for high schools to download and remind first time voter students to go to the polls. That would be awesome enough. But wait...there's more!
Friday morning, my friend Jonah and I will be heading out to do Get Out The Vote work in Denver for the weekend. This is the most important election of my life (so far), and we are going to go door to door and encourage people to go out and vote in one of the most important swing states in the country.
Of course, we'll be shooting video from the road, and we'll be sure to post the best stuff here.
Until later, ROCK ON!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Our last voter registration drive was on Thursday, October 2nd at West High School. It was the last of four voter registration drives held at the school, so we didn't expect to find any people left to sign up. However, we registered a bunch of new voters and re-registered one person who had moved to a different address. It was awesome.
The top pic is of me with TJ Ellerbeck (who helped me with the registration drive) and a senior at my school who registered to vote in her first election. (I go to middle school at a high school--long story.) The second pic is of me with the Salt Lake County Clerk, Ms. Sherrie Swensen, when I went to the county offices to turn in the voter registrations I collected.
Now, we're really busy doing Get Out The Vote (GOTV) stuff. Next week, we'll have new GOTV videos featuring members of some of your favorite bands posted for high school TV stations to download and remind their school's first-time voters to go out to the polls and VOTE. Stay tuned...
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
We will be hosting several voter registration and Get Out The Vote events here in our area, so check back in the next few days for details. If you'd like more information on how to host events and sign up new voters in your area, shoot us an email and we'll get back to you ASAP.
Let's work together to get as many voters to the polls as we can so that they can vote for people who will support issues that are important to US!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Anyway, here's our interview with Mr. Chet about what it was like to be SO CLOSE to being the Vice President of the United States.
Then, we talked to Miss Lee Ann about where their sons were and what they were up to.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
So, the good news is that the Anne Hathaway Interview is up now, and it's a REALLY good one. The bad news is that she was really fun during the introduction, but my mom's memory card ran out right after the intro so we had to start over. Hopefully, we'll get the intro joined to the interview soon so that you can see how great Anne's personality is.
Anne was really excited to talk about arts education and healthcare. But what I thought was the coolest part of the whole interview was at the very end when she talks about how easy it SHOULD be for people who are interested in different issues to come together, have some give and take, and everyone work toward a win-win for everybody. That's how it SHOULD be. But it's not. I think I'm going to send this interview to some of our Republican and Democratic friends in Congress and ask them why it CAN'T work this way. Listen to the interview, and you'll see what I mean.
I vote Anne Hathaway for US Congress. Do I hear a second?
Monday, September 1, 2008
First, she is involved with The Whaleman Foundation, a group that tries to save whales and dolphins from slaughter and loss of habitat. I want to be a marine biologist, so this issue is REALLY important to me.
Second, she's involved with a group called Declare Yourself that encourages people over the age of 18 to vote. Well, yeah, I'm sort of involved in THAT issue, too. So Hayden and I are soul mates, for sure. How about you?
Here's my interview with Hayden:
Sunday, August 31, 2008
She talked about how important arts education is to school kids and how that issue is very important to her because she's an artist. She also had a great idea for a way that kids can get involved in the election. She said that you could do something like make jewelry and sell it (like her neice does) or have a bake sale or something, then donate the money to the campaign of someone who you think will support the issues that are important to you.
So, basically, she's nice, creative and talented. Oh, and she sings in a band, too. Anyway, here's my interview with her:
Friday, August 29, 2008
It's Friday morning and we're packing to go back to SLC so we're going to do our big post when we get home. But yesterday was AMAZING! Not only was the convention really great, but we met and interviewed Hayden Panettiere from Heroes and Alan Cumming from Spy Kids. More when we get home!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Here is the link to our interview with her.
Then, when the WWE correspondent asked to re-do the ending of the segment, we taped a new ending to the interview and a public service announcement.
Wednesday night, the convention was so much fun! It was so crowded that they stopped letting anyone but delegates into the convention hall. Since Wes, my mom and I weren't delegates, we walked around until our dad could find seats for us and ran into a few people, like Anne Hathaway again. Then, we made friends with a security person and she let us go backstage to watch the show. We couldn't believe it! It was cool.
We finally made it down to the convention floor just in time to watch Sen. Biden give his speech. Then, Sen. Obama surprised everyone and came onto the stage. It was so loud that we had to plug our ears. Everyone was really excited and we got some "party trash" (that's what my mom calls all of the campaign stuff) to take home.
A lot of the Hollywood celebrities and some famous politicians like Sen. George McGovern sat with the Utah delegation all week. After the convention ended, we met Josh Lucas who we have seen in "Sweet Home Alabama".
When I was little, news reporter Joe Johns did a story about me and my dad on The Today Show for Father's Day. Mr. Johns is with CNN now and we met him at the CNN Grill.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Then, we met Jeff who works for HDNet and Dan Rather Reports. He was so great. He fixed our computer problem so that we could upload some of our videos and let us sit in his office to watch Hillary Clinton's speech. I found out that reporters work really long hours, which I had sort of already figured out doing this blog, and that they are very nice, smart, multitalented people.
After the convention was over, we went to Coors field for a big party sponsored by the Airline Pilots Association. The party was in a huge skybox area, so we ate and then went out into the box seats to take these pictures.
This morning, we had breakfast with the Utah people, then got dressed in nice clothes and went over to the Denver Museum where Mom thought we might find Anne Hathaway for an interview. First, we found Matthew Modine and Richard Schiff. They talked to us about education, global warming, arts education and more. We found out that Matthew Modine is from Utah! That's pretty cool.
Next we talked to Susan Sarandon, who has won an academy award. Then, I met Zooey Deschanel from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy! That is one of my favorite movies. I was really glad that Zoey was so nice, it could have totally ruined the movie for me if she wasn't. She was sweet, though.
Just about the time we were going to give up on meeting Anne Hathaway, she walked out of the museum! Wes and I couldn't believe it! We liked her in her other movies, but we REALLY love the funniest movie this summer, Get Smart. She was in a big hurry but she took about five minutes answering our questions about arts education and healthcare. Then she posed for this picture. It is SO going to be hanging all over our house now.
I could have died when Anne was about to leave and Wesley handed her his business card and said, "Be sure to give us a call!" I was embarrassed, but everybody else thought it was funny. Whatever. Anyway, tonight at the convention, we ran into her again and she talked to us for a minute there, too.
Which brings me to the convention. I won't go into all of the convention stuff right now. I'll wait til we get to the pictures from the convention floor. But while we were walking to our seats, we ran into our friend Congressman John Lewis. Congressman Lewis was almost killed by mad racists in Alabama when he was walking with Martin Luther King. He's a real live hero. We have known him our entire lives and whenever we go back to DC, I love to just walk around in his office and look at all of his pictures and newspaper stories. It's like a really cool museum. He talked to us about what should excite kids about this election, which he said was the fact that there was so much history that will be made and we are old enough now to remember it and appreciate it.
As soon as we have time (it takes FOREVER to download all of the videos) we will post all of our interviews from the convention. Our interviews for today included:
Congressman John Tanner--Tennessee
Congressman Patrick Kennedy--Rhode Island
Congressman John Lewis
Congressman Chet Edwards--Texas, who we have known forever and who was ALMOST VICE PRESIDENT (that would have been SO awesome!!!!!)
We're headed out to a Blue Dog Coalition reception right now (our dad was a founder of the Blue Dogs) and then we're going on the floor of the convention. WOOT! Back tonight...
Will and Wes
We interviewed Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the chairman of the US House Financial Services Committee, and asked him how kids can get involved in this year’s election. He said that there are a lot of ways kids can help a candidate, and they are usually happy to have the kids involved. However, he gave this advice: If you say you’re going to do it, DO IT!
See the complete interview below:
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Will asked Andy Hurley (below) what political issues were most important to him, and he said that global warming was most important--global warming and the environment.
After Fall Out Boy went backstage, Chris Daughtry and his band "Daughtry" came over to meet us. We don't have still photos of that because mom couldn't run the video camera and the still camera at the same time. Daughtry only stopped for a minute because the staff was trying to get them backstage, but Chris seemed like a nice guy.
Next came this guy. Someone told us that his name was "Pharrell". We didn't know who he was, but he seemed to think that everyone should. He just passed right by us. He acted sort of cocky. He did an interview with MTV, but that was it. He wouldn't meet with us even though several people tried to introduce us. We weren't sad or anything. But it was weird that the people that EVERYBODY knows (except my dad) who are super big stars were so nice. And this guy who we had never heard of wasn't so nice. We looked him up on the internet today and found out that he is with a band called N.E.R.D. Maybe one day when he gets to be a big star he'll be nicer.
So here is my crazy brother holding "The Carpet Fiber that Pete Wentz Walked On". Will is always finding things on the ground, usually money. This time it was something pretty random.
But (sorry Mr. Chairmen) it got WAY better. So first, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) interviewed us and asked us to film a short promotion thing for Smackdown the Vote. That was pretty sweet. But then, the Rock the Vote people came in. Seth from Rock the Vote brought the entire FALL OUT BOY band over to us! Yeah. I'm really not kidding! The first picture is Wes looking awestruck as Seth tells Pete to come say hello to us.
Wes asked Pete what political issues he cares about the most. Pete stood and told us that foreign policy was the most important issue to him. Then he asked us a couple of questions, even though we had to keep posing for pictures and stuff. He was totally cool. Oh, and he took our business cards and put them in his pocket. Maybe he'll be my new pen pal? Yeah. Not. But still cool.
This is Wes and me posing for the official Rock the Vote photographer with our new bud Pete. Since my mom was running the video camera, she handed her still camera to some random woman standing beside us. The random woman did a pretty decent job taking pics for us considering how everyone was all bunched around us, but I hope Seth gets us the official pics. That would be SO sweeeeet.
The last picture shows us looking dumbfounded that Pete is STILL hanging out with us and talking to us. It was pretty cool, but it wasn't over yet.
Congressman Charles Rangel from New York is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. It's a very important committee because they decide how to pay for everything and how much everybody pays for taxes. I asked him what the most important issue that affects kids that Congress is working on. Listen to the video above to hear his answer.
Monday, August 25, 2008
WES: Mr. Springmeyer said that one way kids can get involved in political campaigns is to communicate with other kids, their families and their friends over the internet and tell them who they are supporting and why. We agree TOTALLY! Mr. Springmeyer has a Facebook page and he says that he finds a lot of volunteers through the internet.
WILL: I felt that one of the most important ideas Mr. Springmeyer talked about was that no matter who you are, you can always help out and volunteer for a candidate who you support. You can go to their campaign headquarters and volunteer to do things like put up lawn signs in your neighborhood, make campaign calls to talk to people about the candidate, and march in parades with the candidates. Actually, I've done parades with my dad before and they're pretty fun!
You can see our full interview with Mr. Springmeyer, candidate for governor of Utah, below.
WILL: Rich said that the press covers events like the DNC so that people who weren’t there would know what happened and could make their own decisions about which politicians would represent their views and opinions the best.
WES: I also thought Rich was right when he said that when you have a dollar and somebody rips it in half, that doesn’t feel very good. He’s right. And that’s what happens with taxes.
You can watch our full interview with Richard Piatt from KSL-TV below.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Will and Wes
Saturday, August 23, 2008
WES: I thought it was interesting when she said that Sen. Obama made her feel like it was okay to be a Democrat because of her faith instead of despite her faith. She said that she felt that way because Sen. Obama wants to help poor people and wants to make the world a better and safer place for kids.
WILL: I thought it was very interesting and new that Ms. Gelderman wanted our input on some of the questions that we asked of her. I was glad she was interested in getting our points of view and I hope that she will pass our opinions on to Senator Obama. It’s good to know that some of our leaders really do care about what’s important to kids.
You can watch our full interview with Utah State Director of Obama for America Suzanne Gelderman below:
We are two brothers who are total opposites of each other. But we both agree that kids can make a difference and this year's election gives us a chance to help change our country and our futures.
Before we start talking about the campaign, we want to introduce ourselves...
I'm Will. I'm 13 years old and will start 8th grade as soon as I get back from the Democratic National Convention in Denver. I'm looking forward to going to the DNC so we can see some of our friends from Washington DC (I was born there and lived there until I was five.)
Favorite Food: Veggie Suicide (a mix of lots of green, white and yellow veggies)
Favorite School Subject: Any science class
Favorite Hobbies: Building cool stuff with Lego's and junk I find, singing, playing MySims on the Wii, hanging out with my friends
Favorite Band(s): Five for Fighting, The Beatles, Billy Joel (soft, meaningful stuff)
Favorite Brands: Abercrombie, Ralph Lauren and Sperry (Topsiders are awesome!)
Career Goals: Marine Biologist living on Antarctica and trying to save the penguins
College Choice(s): Harvard, MIT, Duke or Johns Hopkins
Political Views: Liberal (I want more money spent on public schools; I want more action on environmental issues; I want the war in Iraq to end by, like, five years ago; and if we need to raise taxes to fix our country, then we should raise the taxes of everyone except for the poor. And if you're making $5 million per year, you're not poor)
Hi! I'm Wesley. I'm 11 and a half years old and I'm going into the sixth grade. I'm stoked about going to all of the parties and talking to people at the DNC. If my parents let me go to the MTV party for a little while to do interviews that would be SWEEEET!
Favorite Food: Steak and Salmon (with no bones)
Favorite School Subjects: Art and Recess (I know it's not a subject)
Favorite Hobbies: Riding bikes and hanging out with my friends, riding my 4-wheeler, playing my guitar
Favorite Bands: REM, Bowling for Soup. I like good lyrics and a strong beat
Favorite Brands: QuikSilver, Hurley, O'Neill, Billabong
Future Career: Race car driver or car designer
College Choice: Not sure, but maybe University of Utah
Political Views: Conservative (I think that everyone should pay somewhere close to the same percentages of taxes; I would rather cut out money that we spend than tax everybody more; I think it's time to end the war in Iraq, but I don't think that we can just pull everybody out right away; I think that people who make $300,000 a year are middle income)
Thanks for coming to visit us! We hope you'll check out our blog and tell your friends about us.
Will and Wes