Young Leaders & NAACP Meet With Political Hopefuls

By John W. Davis

October 21, 2010 Updated Oct 21, 2010 at 11:13 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - It's no secret that young people and minorities of all ages can sway political elections.

Therefore, the Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana and the NAACP held separate events Thursday night, to educate and introduce political hopefuls to both key demographics.

YLNI's candidate forum was more of a social hour than political forum.

But that was done on purpose so young people could could have one-on-one access with federal, state, local candidates.

"I'd much rather meet someone face to face than just see a commercial. I appreciate the brochure but the face to face, handshake says a lot about who somebody is," said YLNI Member Amy Johnson.

Meanwhile, United States Senate candidates will debate Friday night at IPFW.

Republican Dan Coats, Democrat Brad Ellsworth, and Libertarian Rebecca Sink-Burris will square off live on ABC 21 at 7 p.m.

Indiana's NewsCenter will also have a special recap Friday night at 10 p.m. on the CW and MYTV and at 11 p.m. on NBC 33 and ABC 21.

"At the end of the day, when it comes time to for the community leaders, the public officials to vote on things, they can consider the input from our demographic," said YLNI President Michael Barranda.

Meanwhile, a lot of the same candidates that attended the YLNI candidate night, also stopped by the NAACP forum.

NAACP leaders said the realize the turnout of minority voters was key two years ago.

"We're just trying to make sure that the minority community is not forgotten in this election process. We know that it's very critical to any number of issues, not only on the local level but the state level especially as we talk about redistricting," said Fort Wayne Allen County NAACP President Rev. Bill McGill.

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