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Dr Pepper Hour serves as forum for local races

Oct. 25, 2000

By BRANDI DEAN

Reporter

Baylor students were given the chance to mingle and talk politics with candidates in the upcoming local elections at an extended Dr Pepper Hour Tuesday in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.

'Hi, I'm Larry Lynch, and I'd like to be your sheriff,' was one of the standard greetings that could be heard at the weekly social hour, much to the surprise of many students simply going for a Dr Pepper float.

'Meet the Candidates' was a joint effort by Student Congress and the Baylor Ambassadors. The organizations worked with the governmental relations department to get in contact with all of the candidates running for local offices. About 15 candidates, including judges, justices of the peace, and U.S. representatives -- as well as representatives of some candidates who couldn't be there -- showed up to educate students about local offices and issues.

'I'm seeing a lot of confusion on what each elected official's responsibility is,' said A.F. Buddy Skeen, the Democrat incumbent County Tax Assessor-Collector. 'But the students are eager to learn so that they can make the right choice.'

Cindy Evans, the Democratic candidate for justice of the peace in the 1st precinct, place 1, said it is important for students to know what her job involves -- especially those who get caught speeding, are getting married or want to sue their roommate since they could be sent to her to handle any of that.

'I find that most students don't know what the JP does and how it really affects their lives,' Evans said. 'It's the rung of the judicial ladder that they would come in contact with.'

This type of information was exactly what some students came to find. Sarah Thompson, a Houston sophomore, said she got just the information she needed and even found that some of the candidates made her reconsider formerly held views.

'I didn't know much about the local races. This made me feel more informed,' Thompson said. 'It's challenged my opinions on some stuff as well. I was talking to the Chet Edwards representative about student loans, and he was talking about how some Republicans want to abolish the department of education, which would take away from student loans. A lot of my friends are here on student loans.'

Edwards is a Democrat running for re-election to Congress.

Kara McGinty, a Honey Grove senior, was not expecting to see political campaigning when she walked into Barfield Drawing Room, but she said that it turned out OK.

'I had no idea they were going to be here,' McGinty said. 'It was kind of a surprise to find them in here, but not an unpleasant one -- nobody has been overbearing.'

Matt Price, a Waco senior, was also caught off guard by the event but said he learned something anyway.

'I'm not head-over-heels for anyone,' Price said, 'but I've got their information, and I'm sure I'll look over it later. It's something that I wouldn't have done. I wouldn't have hunted down information to decide how to vote.'

The candidates were pleased with the curiosity students showed in the local issues. Ramsey Farley, a Republican and the only candidate for U.S. representative who was able to attend 'Meet the Candidates,' said he hoped the conversations he had got students more involved in the political system.

'I wanted to meet some young people and maybe convince them to vote for me,' Farley said. 'They asked intelligent questions about issues that are important to them and issues that are important to the classes they are taking.'

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