Forum aims to get African Americans more politically involved

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COLUMBIA – Voters had an opportunity to connect with the people who might represent them in a forum on Wednesday.

The local Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated chapter along with the Minority Men’s Network organized the Civically Engaged African Americans in Columbia forum in hopes of connecting black voters with candidates and vice versa.

“Our goal is to connect African-Americans with politicians. So with this event, our hope and our goal is to bring African-Americans closer to the candidates and have the candidates meet more African-Americans,” Monica Miller, the local chapter connection chair, said. 

All Boone County candidates running for the Missouri House and Senate were invited, but only candidates running as Democrats were present.

Don Waterman, who is running for the 46th House District as a Republican, said he was not able to attend due to illness, but plans to meet with the organizations that organized the event.

Six candidates showed up to the forum:

  • Kip Kendrick of the 45th House District
  • Susan McClintic, who is running for the 47th House District.
  • Thomas Pauley, who is running for the 44th House District.
  • Cathy Richards and Martha Stevens, both running for the 46th House District.
  • 46th House district representative Steven Webber, who is running for the 19th District Senate seat.

“I’m excited about this event. I love the opportunity for candidates to talk to the public,” Pauley said before the event.

Candidates were asked about the disparity of African-American median income compared to other minorities and how to challenge that issue at the Capitol, the rise in minority students in Boone County but the lack of growth in number of minority teachers, and other topics.