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Ohio senator speaks to students about importance of voting

Democrat Nina Turner, a member of the Ohio Senate, spoke to more than 50 students and community members about the power of voting Wednesday night.

Turner, who spoke in West Hall, explained how one vote can make a difference and implored University students to exercise their power and get involved with the government on a local and national level.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport,” Turner said. “Great things happen when ordinary people put in a little extra, that’s the story of America.”

The younger generations are among some of the main focuses for Turner because the 18 to 29 age group represents more than 20 percent of the voting population, she said.

While visiting the University she crafted her speech around inspiring students to vote and become more involved because “voting is a responsibility,” Turner said.

Michael Hart, president of the College Democrats, contacted Turner’s staff about a possible visit to the campus for the benefit of the students and the local community.

“If you take away the schools everything falls apart,” Hart said. “We want [Turner] to teach students how to use their vote to the fullest potential.”

This visit marks the first time the College Democrats succeeded in reaching out to a political figure to speak at the University, said sophomore Morgan Holliger, a member of the College Democrats.

While this marks the first time Turner has visited the University, she isn’t a stranger to speaking to college students.

In addition to being a member of the Ohio Senate, Turner is a professor at Cuyahoga Community College.

“I’m a believer in young people,” Turner said. “Being able to inspire students is part of my mission.”

It’s that passion for the younger generation that she said has inspired her to fight for young voters’ rights by teaching how one vote can make a difference.

Turner, an incumbent known for supporting voter and women’s rights, also hopes the locals vote in favor of Bowling Green public schools because “every child should receive a high quality education,” she said.

“Whether you’re public or private, we’re all in this together,” Turner said.

The ‘together’ mentality was conceived while Turner was in college after her mother passed away at the age of 42. Turner turned the tragedy into an inspiration to fight for young people and voters’ rights everywhere.

“My experience defines why I get up and fight,” she said.

In addition to her mother’s death, her grandmother also served as an inspiration for Turner to fight for what she believed in.

Turner’s grandmother preached “Grandma’s Three Bones,” which were appropriately named the wish bone, the jaw bone and the back bone. Each bone had a different focus such as the motivation to dream big, the courage to stand up for personal beliefs and the will to stand strong against opponents.

Wielding the teachings of her family, Turner warned the audience that voters always need to fight for children and voters’ rights.

“It’s shield building time,” Turner said in reference to voters preparing for elections at the local level and at the national level in 2014 and 2016.

Although Turner uses her past as an inspiration, she’s still looking to her future as an incumbent in the Ohio Senate and beyond.

Her legacy is one of the most important aspects of Turner’s public life and she said she hopes to be remembered as a difference maker, especially for the younger generations.

“I think about what people will say at my funeral, I don’t want anyone to have to make anything up about me,” Turner said.

Before closing her speech Turner looked to the audience and implored them to “go out and make a difference because everyone’s vote matters.”

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