BRIDGER — In Bridger on Saturday, Sarah Androlia, 17, got a group of five friends together to learn about the political process, introduce them to a congressional candidate and encourage them to register to vote.
“Politics are really part of everything that we do every single day. A lot of regulations and stuff come from politics. A lot of things that we talk about are political, stuff like that. It is one of the biggest things," Androlia said.
Androlia is originally from Pennsylvania and moved to Bridger eight years ago with her family. While most teenagers aren't interested in the often convoluted world of politics, Androlia said she wants more young people to be involved, because politics and government impact everyone.
"It is one of the biggest things. It’s a very natural thing that people do, to get into politics. I think because it’s such a big influence in our lives in the way that we go to work, in the way that we go to school. Stuff like that. I think that young people should get really involved with it," Androlia said.
While gathered at the restaurant, A Pizza Pie, in Bridger, the teens learned about voter registration from Macque Bohleen, Carbon County election administrator. She brought along registration forms and three of the six signed up to vote on Saturday.
Gunnar Mattison, 18, of Billings is friends with Androlia and got registered to vote absentee at the event.
“I just haven’t registered to vote yet and I know I need to. I feel like it’s really important for young people in this day and age to get registered to vote and let their voices be heard," Mattison said.
While he didn't have any passionate political beliefs yet, Mattision said he'll pay more attention to politics now that he's a registered voter.
"Now that I’m registered to vote and learning more about how political theory works. Then yah, I’m going to be a lot more," Mattison said.
The group also got to hear from Jack Ballard, a Red Lodge Democrat who is running for U.S. House. Androlia said she invited Ballard and supports his campaign.
Androlia said it's sometimes tough to make her friends passionate about politics, but she had a few strategies.
“My strategy today was actually free pizza, if you didn’t notice. But just kind of relating it to the things that they are interested in usually helps," Androlia said.
“Sometimes, it takes you a couple of more years to get interested in politics. And that’s okay too as long as one day you get with it," she added.