Sen. Sanders learns from concerned Vermont high schoolers

Montpelier, Vt. - Senator Bernie Sanders learned what concerns young people in Vermont from the finalists of his annual essay competition.

The Statehouse Meeting Hall was filled with intelligent high schoolers on Saturday morning.

“For eight years now, we’ve gotten kids from all over the state to write essays about what they would do… what kind of speech they would give if they were President of the United States,” Sen. Sanders said.

Young minds raised concerns to the Senator such as discrimination, cost of higher education and climate change. Other topics included dreamers, marijuana and sexism.

“It amazes me to hear what these young people are thinking about,” Sen. Sanders said.

One of those students was Zoe Prue. She is a junior at Champlain Valley Union High School who wrote an essay about universal healthcare.

"We should make that more of a priority because it would be really significant for the next generation of Americans,” Prue said. “We're investing in a new workforce and I really believe that health is really... it's a human right."

Prue was joined in her viewpoints by Maisie Newbury.

Newbury wrote about her brother with disabilities who will age out of his healthcare coverage on his 21st birthday this year.

Jackson Noel wrote about healthcare as well.

Another prevalent concern was the opioid epidemic. Lilly Cazayoux is also a junior at CVU.

"Place more rules on pharmacies who are overprescribing highly addictive opioids and the second part be supervised injection sites,” she said.

The students hope their voices will be heard through Sen. Sanders.

"I hope he gets energized,” Prue said. “I hope he gets some new ideas. He probably has thought about a lot of this stuff before but I hope he really takes into consideration how important these things are and I hope there's some inspiration for him.

Out of twenty finalists the most common concern was climate change. Some others were gerrymandering, gun control and teacher strike impacts on education.

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