President Barack Obama incited a lot of excitement among young voters in 2008, but at a young professionals round table in downtown Pittsburgh Tuesday, a worry about voter apathy was expressed. Actor and former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Kal Penn spoke to the small group and asked for input on what the Obama campaign can do to energize young voters. He said the president has been a tireless proponent of issues important to young people, while Republicans have been focused on other issues.
"Repealing Obamacare, which for 2.5 million young people who can now stay on their parents' health care plan is a big deal," he said, "there's no concrete proposal to substitute that, Governor Romney is supporting a budget that would just completely gut student aid."
The young professionals in attendance said they see a lot of apathy among peers, though feel that will become less of an issue as the presidential election gets closer. Penn, who is most widely known for his turn as Kumar in the Harold and Kumar movies, is traveling the country and talking to young professional groups. He left the Obama administration last year, and returned to the acting world, though he's actively working with the Obama campaign.
As far as issues of importance to local young people, those at the forum brought up Pittsburgh's transit issues and ongoing challenges in the job market.