EUGENE, Ore. — U.S. senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden paid a visit to South Eugene High School Wednesday.
They talked about the government shutdown and fielded questions from students. The government shutdown was the main issue Merkley and Wyden wanted to address with about 100 students there.
Although many of these students right now aren’t directly impacted by the shutdown, this meeting reminded students that they are the future.
“Your life is about school, but all around you the economy is being affected,” Merkley said.
Merkley and Wyden stressed the importance of the next generation and touched on some of the problems facing our federal government, which these 16, 17 and 18-year-olds may have to deal with when they set out into the work force.
“So if Jeff and I and everybody else can’t figure this out so that the seniors get their guaranteed Medicare, good quality Medicare and it’s affordable, this has huge effects for all of you guys here,” Wyden said.
Senator Wyden says if the country is going to solve the deficit for the long term, Medicare is the single biggest driver of the budget. And Senator Merkley says the problem is we aren’t sticking to our original principles the country was founded on.
“But with unlimited funds in campaigns, it raises a question: have we gone from the Lincoln summary–of the people for the people–to something very different? Something to think about in the course of your studies,” Merkley said.
Students also had a chance to weigh in and ask questions, focusing on what’s most important to them.
“They understand that this is something that affects our generation, especially with the debt trying to be transferred over and just ignored and with the government freezing,” said student Sophie Kreitzberg.
“It’s a little intimidating to hear like the $16.4 plus trillion debt. We’re kind of coming into the political world with like I really hope that I’m going to be voting, so I really hope that they get it figured out very soon,” said student Peter Kranitz.
“We’re going to have a completely different leadership set, and it’s going to be way closer to my age, and it’s going to be really interesting to watch,” said student Ben Heiner.
Students also mentioned the senators were good at talking to people their age, even though they’re not directly impacted by the shutdown right now.