Staff member in Chicago Sun-Times debate article

If you want to judge public reaction on anything from sports to politics, go to a barbershop or a bar. So while journalists from across the country, political supporters and everyday people were focused on the Democratic presidential debate at the Recreational Sports Center at the University of Texas at Austin, I went to a debate party thrown by Barack Obama supporters at Austin's famous Scholz Garten. One table over, 24-year-old Alejandro Juarez sat with a group that included people his age, as well as those who have been debating politics for decades. Juarez, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Obama, still hasn't made up his mind about who will get his vote. "I used to be very informed, but when [President] Bush got elected, I felt helpless," said Juarez, who is an admissions counselor at the University of Texas at Austin. "I fell into a state of apathy. [And] I have been so uninformed over the past couple of years." But Juarez, a Mexican American born in the United States, is fully aware of the critical role Latino and young voters will play in the March 4 primary election. He was in Scholz to catch up. "I feel this is the first time that has happened, and we can be a part of change," he said. "They talk about the involvement of the young population and how much of a difference they can make. I want to be a part of that."

Chicago Sun-Times
Young Texans Ready to Vote, 'Be a Part of Change'
(Feb. 22)