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For Immediate Release      
May 16, 2001
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky to Address St. John Valley Area High School Seniors
Visits Scheduled in Van Buren, Madawaska, Ste. Agathe and Fort Kent

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky will be visiting St. John Valley area schools and speaking with seniors on a variety of issues, including youth voting initiatives, safe driving habits and related coming of age matters.  A schedule of his visits is set forth below.

In 1997, Secretary Gwadosky established a Task Force on Young Drivers to investigate the alarming number of injuries and deaths involving Maine’s youngest drivers.  The Task Force proposals, adopted by the Maine Legislature in 1998, were the most sweeping changes in driver education, licensing and testing in the last 40 years.  

Drivers between the ages of 15 to 24 represent 12% of Maine’s total driving population, but account for 25% of Maine’s vehicle related fatalities.   Secretary Gwadosky encourages drivers of all ages, but especially younger drivers, to practice safe driving habits on Maine’s roadways, especially during the busy prom and graduation season.

Secretary Gwadosky has also been involved in a variety of state and national initiatives to encourage youth voting.  In 1998, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) commissioned the bipartisan New Millennium Project to better understand the problem of declining youth engagement in the political process and to gain insights into potential solutions to this growing problem.  

The New Millennium Project found that voters between the ages of 18 to 24 were the most disenfranchised and disillusioned members of the electorate.  While this age group has high rates of volunteerism, their activism is generally apolitical.  The study also found that this group often lacks the information and skills to have a clear understanding about the responsibilities of citizenship, the function of government, and what ideals candidates and political parties represent.  Most feel that their issues and views are not being heard or discussed by political campaigns.

May 17th Schedule of High School Visits

      8:30 a.m. -   9:30 a.m.  Van Buren District Secondary School

    10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Madawaska High School

    11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Wisdom High School (Ste. Agathe)

      1:25 p.m. -  2:25 p.m. Fort Kent Community High School