Youth Town Hall

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ASHLAND - Children, parents and politicians attended a Youth Town Hall featuring Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, Wednesday evening at the Ashland Optimist Club building. 

Three middle school students, two of which are home-schooled, put together the Youth Town Hall. Jacob Schelp, the 11-year-old behind the idea, became interested in history when he was just 5 years old. As he aged, his love for history expanded into politics. 

“History has a lot to do with politics,” Schelp said.  

He said he wanted to create a Youth Town Hall that’s more geared toward his age group. Schelp said he attended several forums, but noticed there weren't any children there his age. 

“So, I thought to myself, ‘Why don't I make a Youth Town Hall so kids can have a Youth Town Hall that’s based on them,’” Schelp said.  

Zack Sample and Claire Thurnau also helped organize the event. Thurnau said she thought it went really well, despite a low head count. Around 4 to 5 rows were filled.

“Even if we do have a smaller audience, we’re still getting questions asked and still getting answers to it,” Thurnau said. 

Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, and Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, made an appearance.  

Although Hartzler is a Republican, Schelp said the event was non-partisan. However, Jordan Narrol, a Hickman High School freshmen, said he didn't like the setup of the questions for Hartzler.

“When I tried to ask her questions she would answer with like ‘Oh wow that’s really nice that you're asking this’ and then not really answering the question to the fullest degree,” Narrol said.  

He said he didn't like the fact that people had to submit their questions in beforehand. 

“You couldn't have political questions, but she can have political answers, so it’s just a 30 minute advertisement for Vicky Hartzler," Narrol said. 

Schelp said he’s thinking about making a club so people around his age can join. He said it could be a conservative club or just a non-partisan club.