The Maneater

NAACP, others host political forum in Ellis Auditorium

The hashtag #KnowForNov was used to field audience questions during the event, though many waited until the end to ask the individuals questions.

Five different student organizations sponsored a political forum held in Ellis Auditorium Sept. 30.

The forum, Know for November, featured two moderators from hosting organizations who asked a variety of policy-related questions to be discussed amongst three candidates running for the Missouri House of Representatives in November.

Democrats Kip Kendrick, Tom Pauley and Nate Irvin are running for Districts 45, 44 and 4 respectively.

With National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Storm Ervin at the reigns, MU NAACP, Tigers Advancing Political Participation, the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, the MU Black Pre-Law Student Association and Mizzou College Democrats all hosted the discussion among the three candidates.

The hashtag #KnowForNov was used to field audience questions during the event, though many waited until the end to ask the individuals questions.

Discussions covered a range of issues, including healthcare, higher education and marijuana legalization.

However, the most discussed issue was one of logistics. Missouri is the only state in the country withou tlimits on either campaign contributions or gifts from lobbies and lobbyists.

Although the state has laws regarding the reporting of these contributions and limits on cash or anonymous donations, nowhere does it state that a certain amount is too much to be legally accepted.

This posed a problem for the candidates, who are all of relatively low economic standing compared to their Republican counterparts.

“How can normal people compete?” Pauley said. “How can we have fair and equal elections?”

The three said, with no limit on campaign contributions, the Missouri legislature will be left in the hands of whoever can raise the most money.

“It’s astonishing,” Kendrick said. “It’s scary.”

Among other issues, Kendrick said he is especially concerned with the impact debt can have on students. He is running for the state legislature in the District 45, which includes most of Columbia.

The position, which has historically been filled by a Democrat, is Kendrick’s already, as he is running unopposed.

Irvin made sure the audience knew exactly what his stances were during the discussion.

The discussion turned to marijuana legalization, something all three candidates agreed on.

“I think if a law is based on morals that no longer fit the morals of that society, then I don’t think that’s right,” Irvin said.

Irvin and Pauley said they fully support legalizing usage, while Kendrick was tentative to side either way. Ultimately, he agreed on full decriminalization of medical marijuana.

He said over 50 percent of prisoners are behind bars for nonviolent crimes, namely those that are drug-related.

“That is unacceptable,” Kendrick said. “It’s inhumane.”

Mizzou College Democrats Vice President Claire Salzman said everyone should be involved.

“We’re going to have to deal with those messes,” she said.

Salzman also advocated involvement at the state level.

“Your voice has the biggest impact (there),” she said.

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