Curtis Meyer reporter
Pitt State Campus Democrats hosted an event open to the public allowing candidates of both parties for upcoming elections to voice their views and let the public ask questions.
“The whole point of running this, organizing this, was to get more information about candidates involved and to say hi, just seeing if they would be willing to show up,” said Brianna Cook, member of Campus Democrats.
Two candidates arrived to speak, current county commissioner of the third district Jeremy Johnson, and Patrick Schmidt candidate for Kansas’ 2nd congressional district. Johnson’s opponent Carl Wood and Schmidt’s incumbent opponent Jake LaTurner were invited but did not attend.
Johnson and Schmidt are both the democratic candidates for the primaries. Those who are interested in voting can vote on Nov. 8.
The two candidates were asked to introduce themselves to the audience in the Governor’s Room of the Overman Student Center. Then a moderator proceeded to ask each candidate questions about their policies and what they stood for.
Once this had concluded, the audience was invited to ask their own questions or make their own comments, while the candidates either answered or weighed in.
Johnson’s jurisdiction includes Pitt State University, and he gave what he believed to be the biggest issues that affect Pittsburg University.
“The big one that I kind of pointed to in the forum is infrastructure. Especially with the student population that commutes, especially those who are going outside of Pittsburg to come to school. That’s a major concern, that we want to have the best possible infrastructure that is safe and navigable by students and everyone in the county,” Johnson said.
Schmidt pointed out that support for Pitt State was important to him.
“Support for Pitt State, support for the local economy. Their individual healthcare decisions, their ability to get a job after they graduate (are important),” Schmidt said.
Several students and members of the public showed up to listen and see what the candidates had to say.
“I think that politics only works if politicians act as servants of their constituents, and the fact that we had people show up I think speaks really highly,” said Cook.
With the upcoming election looming for both candidates, Johnson encouraged voting among Pittsburg students. Anyone who is living on campus can register to vote in Pittsburg, regardless of the state they lived in before.
“Kansas law has been very clear. Students are absolutely allowed to vote where they go to school. Given that they spend a large chunk of their year for the duration, 2 or 4 or 6 or however many years they end up spending here. I think it’s important for people who live in a place to have a say in what the direction of that place looks like,” said Johnson.
Schmidt also encouraged students to vote.
“There’s nothing more important than voting. Look at what’s happening in Emporia right now. The vote is what will influence the preservation and the strengthening of Pitt State,” said Schmidt.
Campus Democrats is a student run group that invites all PSU students to join, “no matter the party, person, position, or profile,” as the pamphlet they handed out extoled. Those who wish to become involved are invited to join on Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m. in the Cottonwood Room of the Overman Student Center.