Ibrahim Shabazz, Staff Writer

Claire McCaskill urged younger people, from the ages of 15-25, to participate more in government and politics during a stop at the University of Missouri–St. Louis for her “Your Vote Matters Campus Tour.”

“The most common way people lose power is thinking they don’t have any,” McCaskill quoted a friend as she stood on the podium speaking to a diverse audience that included veterans, students, and beyond. Participation truly is representation. Her speeches are what inspired Haley Miller, sophomore, public policy and administration, to attend the event and hear more.

“I saw her at Missouri Girls’ State, a mock government like program, and she inspired me, so I wanted to hear more politics and topics from her especially,” Miller said.

McCaskill has already helped stop budget cuts at universities such as UMSL and is currently proposing a bill and program that will allow student loans to be paid off in one easy payment. She is also working on a program that will make textbooks free while rewarding the professors who utilize this option. To gain these opportunities and perhaps more, the younger demographic must vote to gain the representation they desire. In the 2014 midterm election, the last midterm before the upcoming 2018 election, only 28 percent of voters aged 25 years and younger voted. This is why McCaskill was stressing her speech to the younger demographic.

“We have to stop thinking of special interests and think of you first,” McCaskill said, pointing to all the listeners.

To McCaskill, politics is a community that can be joined at any age. McCaskill actually started in politics as an undergraduate at the University of Missouri. That was when she first found a sense of community within politics. You’re never too young to participate, she said. She pushed this point to her audience, saying it is never too early for anyone to start.

McCaskill concluded her speech and then opened the room up for questions about her campaign and her policies. Some audience members asked about funding for higher education and for-profit universities. McCaskill talked about her delight for keeping funding for higher education, connecting it to the bigger idea of the importance of people being educated. Her tone changed suddenly as she warned against for-profit schools.

With time running out, she answered two more questions before she had to hurry to do the same event at Mizzou. Some of the audience was not ready for the event to conclude, with some students still wanting to ask more questions.

Anna Myers, senior, English, would have liked to ask more saying, “I liked a lot of the things she said. I wish she had more time for more questions.”

Ultimately, the McCaskill’s point was made. Participation in the voting process is the goal and it is necessary.