The following post was written by a high school student participating in the CSX program, “How Tomorrow Votes.” Through this program, high school students spend two days at the Republican and Democratic national conventions and learn how to report as student journalists. “How Tomorrow Votes” is a program dedicated to giving the next generation of voters a voice today. Learn more at

Cleveland—On the first day of the Republican National Convention, oil tycoon Harold Hamm and Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush, said in a live discussion that the U.S. needs better trade agreements.

Republican nominee Donald Trump has stated his desire to limit trade with certain countries and withdraw from The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. In a panel discussion at The Washington Post’s headquarters at the RNC, Hamm said “some of these deals have been so one-sided on trade.” This why the stressed the need for renegotiating trade deals. “We need fair and free trade,” said Chao.

According to the speakers, many current international trade arrangements are also very difficult for small or private groups to take part in. That’s why negotiations should consist of creating fair trade for everyone, said Hamm.

Chao explained that to make these changes possible, several branches of the political system, such as the Senate and the House of Representatives, must unite in agreement.

She explained that it would not be simple for Donald Trump to withdraw from the TPP or other trade agreements, if elected. She said that when a candidate is elected into office, there is a leavening effect to their proposals. “We are a Republic with different branches of government and so the Senate and the House are going to be full partners in working with the White House,” she said, “for any trade deal to move forward, there has to be agreement.” This means that possibility to renegotiate the terms of multiple trade agreements is still in question.

Donald Trump is known for his unconventional opinions, yet both panelists expressed that they understand Trump wants to negotiate better deals for the country. Hamm, an avid supporter of Trump, think he is well positioned to do this. “I believe Donald Trump is someone who makes the hard decisions and can do the dealing with them [counties such as Iran],” he said.

Sarah Stoupa is originally from Nebraska and currently resides in Denver, Colorado. She is 14 years old and will be attending her freshman year in high school. She is interested in engineering and rocketry.