Each year, the VYP Board decides on goals and themes for the program that help identify the focus for content, speakers, and community partners. This month we are highlighting the importance of voting. Hear from Zach Schira and Shon Mack as they share their thoughts on the importance of voting and the upcoming General Election.

Zach Schira, Maricopa County 

Question: Why is it important for young professionals to participate in the 2020 General Election?

Answer: It is extremely important for people of all ages to vote, but specifically for young professionals, as it is the first step in having their voices heard on many important issues. Expressing yourself through voting is the foundation of our democratic republic, and when one group cedes the opportunity to have their voice heard, the public at large is robbed of the perspective of that group.

Question: How are you staying informed on current issues prior to the upcoming election? What resources do you recommend to young professionals looking to learn more?

Answer: I stay informed by subscribing to the Arizona Republic, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Economist. Traditional Journalism is an extremely important facet of democracy, so I try to make an effort to subscribe to newspapers. I also receive a great deal of news from Twitter. Social media comes in handy when trying to stay up to the minute on what is happening in Washington D.C., or at the Arizona Capitol. If this election season wasn’t in the middle of a historic pandemic, I would recommend attending rallies, fundraisers, and other political events to gain a more personal understanding of each candidate’s positions and values.

Question: How do you think the Chamber’s VYP program supports young professionals in being civically engaged on local issues?

Answer: VYP has always afforded young professionals the opportunity to learn about their communities and stay involved civically as well. Between the public policy workshops, the legislative kick-off event, and other programs, the Chamber and VYP give members the opportunity to meet and get to know those who work in state and local government. One of the best qualities of Arizona is how accessible elected and appointed leaders are, and VYP only increases that accessibility for its members.

Shon Mack, Salt River Project

Question: Why is it important for young professionals to participate in the 2020 General Election?

Answer: Regardless of your political stance, participating in the General Election process is among one of the most important ways we can make our voice heard. Standing up for what you believe in is the cornerstone of what makes an excellent leader. As young professionals, we have an obligation to keeps abreast about what is impacting the communities we serve and to make educated decisions to solve those issues. Voter registration has been extended to October 23, 2020, so if you have not yet done so, please register to vote. It is not too late to make your voice heard.

Question: How are you staying informed on current issues prior to the upcoming election? What resources do you recommend to young professionals looking to learn more?

Answer: I aim to steer away from biased narratives that aim to sway opinions. If possible, I like to go straight to the source to get information such as the Republican and Democratic conventions and Presidential debates. If you have not had a chance to watch the RNC and DNC, I encourage you to do so. Below are some other great resources that I recommend:

Question: How do you think the Chamber’s VYP program supports young professionals in being civically engaged on local issues?

Answer: The Chambers VYP program supports us by providing resources such as the Economic Developer Insider Series and regional reports that help us keep a tab on how trends in the market and policies are impacting local issues. The programs also provide networking opportunities to speak with leaders in the community and have an open exchange and dialogue on important issues.

Posted by Annelise Patterson