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Generation V - They say young people will elect the next president. These two plan to stand up – and stand out.

10/01/2008 03:11PM ● Published by Anonymous

In one of the biggest elections of all time, Phillip Gilfus, left, and Nick Ochsner each have a vital say in determining the next president of the United States of America.

These two local politicos each attended their respective conventions for the Democratic and Republican parties.

Something took a hold of Gilfus at an early age. He was interested in politics through middle and high school, and eventually got officially involved with Democratic organizations when he was a student at East Carolina University.

Gilfus decided to join the Army after seeing the Sept. 11th attacks. “I volunteered to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, and was there for about four months, in the northern city of Mosul. I eventually gained the rank of captain, left the Army on July 4, 2006, and then moved back to Fayetteville and started law school at Campbell University the next month,” says Gilfus.

Gilfus is now 27. Between the military and law school, Gilfus emerged even more determined. “As a law student, I've learned what the power and meaning of the law is, and how what gets done in Raleigh or D.C., or in the courts can affect our lives, for better or worse. Being a law student has made me want to get MORE involved, as I learn more about our legal world,” says Gilfus.

Nick Ochsner also began his political career at an early age. When he was in middle school, he helped start the Cumberland County Teenage Republicans. When he was attending Massey Hill High School, he founded and organized the Massey Hill Teen Age Republicans, better known as TARS. As a senior, he completed a granite memorial for his Eagle Scout project to honor his father and other soldiers. “The motivation to complete that project and the motivation to help start young political organizations go hand-in-hand,” says Ochsner.

Ochsner didn’t stop there though. He is now the chairman of the Elon College Republicans as a sophomore, and the finance director for the N.C. College Republicans. He is also the campaign manager for Jack Sawyer, who is running for N.C. Secretary of State. He says that getting young people involvedin politics is crucial.

“People we elect today affect our tomorrow. It affects what gas prices or any other number of things could be like 10 to 15 years from now,” says Ochsner. “Anyone can get involved; it just takes motivation and effort to do so. I encourage younger people to get involved, especially at this time in our nation.”

This presidential race certainly looks to be a most compelling one, and two of Fayetteville’s own have already had an important say. Barack Obama and John McCain are each so different, but both are trying to bring change. In a sense, it seems that Gilfus and Ochsner are trying to do the same.

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