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Family bonds over politics
News politics Sam Smith
Ali and Sam Smith of Hazel Green have met with many of the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates as they campaigned in Iowa recently. Ali Smith, far right, asks New Jersey Governor Chris Christie why she should vote for him at an event on Jan. 27.

HAZEL GREEN—A father-daughter team has been following the presidential election very closely this winter, visiting as many of the candidates as possible as they came to the area for Iowa’s caucus.

Sam Smith and his oldest daughter, Ali, a senior at Southwestern High School, have had a chance to see Donald Trump and personally met and talked with Chris Christie, Jeb Busch, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio and Hilary Clinton as the candidates have recently been campaigning in Iowa for Monday’s caucus. They also saw Bill Clinton when he was in Iowa to campaign for his wife. Following Trump’s visit to Iowa, Ali Smith was interviewed by a reporter from Finland and was able to view the interview online on Monday.

“I thought it was a really cool experience,” Ali Smith said. “It was one of the best weekends ever. We met with six candidates over the weekend. I was a little upset that I didn’t get to meet Trump, but the crowd there was crazy. There weren’t any candidates that I had polar opposite views with, but it was cool getting to hear them all. That doesn’t happen a lot, especially around here.”

Sam Smith said it was a great experience meeting so many of the candidates and he’s glad he had the opportunity.

“Ever since I have been out of college, I have had a strong interest in the election process, both local and state elections, but especially the presidential elections,” Sam Smith said. “My oldest daughter Ali and I watch many of the debates together, follow some of the candidates on twitter and Facebook and on the nightly news.”

On Jan. 27, both Ali and Sam Smith were able to ask Chris Christie a question. Ali asked: “I am 17 years old and will be a registered voter in the fall.  Why should I vote for you Mr. Christie?”

“What a great question from my daughter. I couldn’t be more proud,” Sam Smith said. “Chris took the next four minutes and 52 seconds to address Ali directly regarding her question. Chris did a great job in making Ali feel part of the election process. In my opinion, this is what it’s all about, engaging the younger generation to get involved and understand the candidates and their positions, to get out and vote and support their candidate. Ali understands that she has to find the candidate that she can best relate to and not vote for the candidate that’s popular with her friends.”

Ali Smith said she has been trying to follow all of the candidates as best as she can. She found the Iowa caucus results very interesting since most of her classmates are favoring Trump and Bernie Sanders, which neither won the Iowa Caucus.

“It’s interesting to see how people vote and what they think about the election,” Ali Smith said. “I’m not hard core into politics, but I think it’s important for first-time voters to get to know the candidates.”

Sam Smith has been inspired by the political action and has filed the necessary paperwork to run for an opening on the Southwestern School Board.

“Ali is providing plenty of ideas for my campaign,” Sam Smith said. “I asked each candidate for advice on my school board campaign and they all said the same thing, get out and meet people.”