Youth Lead Candidate Forums

While many youth are unable to vote, there are plenty of ways our youth continue to impact electoral races, the issues that matter and engage with candidates who seek to serve the best interests of children, youth and families across Michigan and in Washington DC. In previous years, Michigan’s Children has partnered with several organizations and community advocates to host a series of candidate forums, where the youth and their issues take center stage. While the ongoing pandemic shifted the way we usually host and operate these events, Michigan youth were still front and center throughout the election cycle. These forums are presented as a non-partisan activity and all of the candidates appearing on the ballot for targeted area races were invited to participate in the virtual exchange with our youth networks.

‘We Are The Change’ Forum
Date: October 22, 2020 from 4:00 – 5:30 pm.
Candidates Attended: Rep. Sarah Anthony, Rep. Kara Hope and Rep. Sheryl Kennedy
Invited Races: Michigan House Districts 34, 48, 49, 67-69 representing greater Flint and the Lansing area.
Event Partners: Peckham Youth Services, Institute for Educational Leadership, Capital Area College Access Network

Read our Forum Recap Story here.

News and Media Coverage of the Event:


Kalamazoo Candidate Forum
Date: October 14, 2020 from 4:00 – 5:30 pm.
Candidates Attended: Rep. Jon Hoadley, Stephanie Moore, Julie Rogers and Christine Morse
Invited Races: U.S. House district 6; Michigan House districts races in the 60 and 61 representing greater Kalamazoo area
Event Partners: Kalamazoo Youth Development Network, Michigan Center for Youth Justice

Read our Forum Recap Story here.

News and Media Coverage of the event:


Fostering Success Ambassadors Weigh In on US Senate Race

One of our partners, the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness (MCAH), asked us to help develop some questions for the candidates for U.S. Senate around the impacts of housing insecurity and homelessness on youth. Of course, we had our own thoughts about questions, but fortunately, we work with amazing young people and their supporters through Fostering Success Michigan (FSM) who rose to the occasion and offered the questions that were top of their minds during this election season. Here are the questions submitted to both major candidates, with #2 and #4 coming from FSM Ambassadors Arielle Duncan and Justin Black.

Senator and Candidate Gary Peters answered those questions, and you can view the video highlighting the questions and his answers here.

We need to see how Candidate John James would answer these important questions as well, and everyone can help. His campaign has been given the questions and asked for a response, but we hope that when reminded by other constituents that these questions are important to answer, he will respond. You can contact his campaign to encourage him to answer here.

We know engagement with candidates this year will look completely different than years past. However, it’s still of the utmost importance that we make an effort to outreach and connect with our communities’ candidates, up and down the ballot.

With only weeks remaining, we have compiled a list of ‘3 Plays’ you and others can execute to engage with candidates before election day, November 3, 2020.

Take Advantage of the Last Few Days Before The Election

Play #1: Take a look at who your candidates are and the issues they’re promoting this election cycle.

  • Visit vote411.org/ballot and enter the address where you’re registered to vote. Then click view ballot.
  • Here you can use the interactive tools to not only learn about the role of the elected official’s position, but also compare competing candidates within each role selected.
  • Many of these profiles also offer direct links to the candidates’ campaign websites where you can learn more about their platform and where they can be reached to engage further.

Play #2: Find out where your candidates will this weekend

  • Using either vote 411 resource above or by simply doing an internet and social media search, you can find out where your candidates will be making appearances and how best to contact them to get them engaged on the issues that matter to children, youth and families in your area.

                        icon Strong Familiesicon Ready Learnersicon Thriving Studentsicon Successful Transitions

Play #3: Vote and help others do the same

Get more information about ballots, registration and options for voting now.

MI Secretary of State
Michiganvoting.org including this great short video detailing how to fill out your ballot and voting options now.