College Democrats of Truman State University hosted Politics in Person on The Quad late last month.
The event brought elected officials and candidates from all over Missouri to Truman to talk with students about local politicians and to advocate for more students to vote.
Joni Perry, Democratic candidate for Missouri State Representative in District 3, helped organize the Politics in Person event.
“This was a project that was near and dear to my heart, to bring Republicans and Democrats together to talk to students at the same time, at the same place, and people went for it, so we are all in,” Perry said.
Perry said the College Democrats were great to work with, and she invited the College Republicans to participate in the event, but they turned down the offer. Perry said she has been involved on campus quite a bit, as Truman is the only four-year public university in the district. Perry said she sat down with University President Sue Thomas to get the University’s perspective on what it wants in their next representative.
Perry decided not to publicize or seek major endorsements because she wants to spend time with the people of the district, and the people in the district do not care for the soapbox issues.
The funding behind Perry’s campaign comes almost exclusively from individuals, with one or two local businesses contributing. Perry said the contributions to her campaign have averaged between $25 and $100 at a time.
“It’s tough since it is a drop in the bucket at a time, instead of one $500 donation at a time from large groups, but this is what it’s about to me,” Perry said.
Perry also said she thinks there is a need for campaign finance reform, but that is something she will tackle if she gets elected.
Mark Shahan, a candidate for Adair County Presiding Commissioner, said he thinks all voter turnout is low. He said there was only a 33 percent turnout in the primary and roughly 13 percent for the spring school board elections.
With the problem of low voter turnout, Shahan said there is a problem with people only voting by party rather than getting to know the candidates. He said he is focusing on the area around Truman because he wants young voters to vote on people they know, not purely on party affiliation.
“People are frustrated with parties, for whatever reason,” Crystal Quade said, a candidate for Missouri State Representative in District 132. “They may not be happy with what is going on at the national level, so they want to get to know their local candidates, which I think is super important and why events like this are awesome, because you get to know us as people and I think from that sentiment people are excited about voting.”
Quade said she supports getting young voters out to vote and participate in elections because the number of possible youth voters can impact the coming elections. Quade said the number of eligible millennial and Generation X voters would be a bigger voting block than any other age demographic, and that could change politics if they were more politically involved.
Quade said she is frustrated by the amount of money spent on political campaigns, so she hopes to advocate for that change from the inside out.
Missouri’s general election is Nov. 6, 2018.