College voters know a lot about who is running in the presidential election this November, but information regarding the candidates running for Missouri’s highest office is a little bit harder to come by.
A survey by the Pew Research Center conducted in July established the top 14 issues voters are concerned with in the coming election. The survey broke down the results by age group and found the most important issues to young adults — ages 18 to 29 — is the treatment of minorities, specifically the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities as well as the treatment of LGBT individuals.
Eric Greitens, Republican candidate and former Navy SEAL, is primarily focused on gun laws in his campaign, as well as using his website to undermine his Democratic opposition.
Chris Koster, Attorney General and Democratic candidate, switched to the Democratic Party in 2007, due to the Republican party’s stance on medical research, middle class wages and lack of public school support.
What Truman State University Students Think
College Democrats President Andrew Mangrum says that while Koster is “a sensible guy,” his criticism towards the Environmental Protection Agency and suing the agency in 2015 is a common complaint among student Democrats at Truman. Despite Koster’s legal dispute with the EPA, Mangrum says he is a good candidate for finding a middle ground between the Democratic and Republican parties.
“He doesn’t want to go too far left, not go too far right,” Mangrum says. “He wants to try and make progress, go forward, because obstructions from either side is going to be bad for the people no matter what.”
College Republicans Chair Benjamin Terrell says since Koster has not voted on anything as a Democrat since his switch to the Democratic Party and getting his position as Attorney General, so it is hard to tell what his position is on some issues.
Terrell also agrees that social media understanding of local candidate policies is lacking when compared to the national election. He says it’s a problem that can be fixed by simply contacting the candidates’ local campaign offices.
“It is a small election … and with finding stances on viewpoints, a website can only contain so much,” Terrell says. “The biggest solution to that is just pick up the phone and give them a call.”
This election is the first Governor Jay Nixon is ineligible for re-election. Nixon cut the state’s education budget in 2011 by $170 million, which is why education is an even more pertinent issue in the upcoming election.
Truman Student Government Reactions to the Issues Important to Students
J.J. Dorrell, Truman student government president, says student government is focused on discussing how concealed carry laws will affect campus, instead of the candidates’ policies on education.
“They haven’t met with the Board of Higher Education … and neither of the candidates have been willing to meet with that board,” Dorrell says. “We don’t really know what their plans are for higher education.”
The acceptance of more diverse people is something that is resonating on campus currently. According to DoSomething.org, which promotes social change among young people, “92% of adults [in 2013] who are LGBT said they believe society had become more accepting of them than in the past 10 years.”
Student Government recently formed the LGBTQ+ resource center, which is part of the Inclusive Excellence Plan put together by former University President Troy Paino, Dorrell says.
“That is actually going to be a project taken up by the Inclusive Excellence Committee on campus,” Dorrell says. “It’s kind of out of student government’s hands at this point, but hopefully the committee sees that it is important to the Truman community.”