The College Democrats hosted Democratic nominee for the fourth Congressional District of Mississippi Jeramey Anderson for the “Let’s Make a Difference” event Wednesday, Sept. 26 to encourage fellow millennials to vote and boost support for his campaign.
Anderson is running in opposition to the incumbent, Steven Palazzo, who is in his fourth term in office.
“When it comes to decisions about the future, about our generation, we’ve got to have a voice and a person at the table,” Anderson said.
When asked what separates him from Palazzo, “I’m a people’s person,” Anderson said. “We don’t have corporate donors. . . We represent regular hard-working Mississippians.”
According to LaDarion Ammons, Anderson’s chief of staff, Anderson is the youngest African-American elected in the U.S. to a state legislature. He was elected at 21 years old and sworn in at 22. Now 26, Anderson plans to continue his political progress in the state of Mississippi.
At the event, the candidate spoke to the mixed room of people from all walks of life and backgrounds for about half an hour and then opened the floor up for questions, which was his main purpose.
President of the College Democrats Brandon Rue, a junior communication studies major, spearheaded the event and introduced the candidate.
“I want to stress the importance of registering to vote and actually voting,” Rue said. “As college students, we have the power to change the entire face of an election because there are so many.”
Zain Hashmat, a junior film and writing student, relies on a bike to get around town and plans on getting an Uber to travel to the polls. He agreed with Rue. “If you don’t think your vote matters, that’s exactly why you should vote because you’ll see that it matters in the end.” Hashmat thinks a voting precinct located on campus could provide ease of voting access to college students like him.
Anderson then stood in front of the room and gave an address which highlighted his passion and drive for making an impact and a difference.
“Our generation is the most accepting generation ever and the state of Mississippi counters that narrative,” Anderson said. “I believe that Mississippi is a great place to live. It has a lot of potential that has yet to be tapped, simply because we have the wrong people in charge.”
During his time in the legislature, he has fought for full funding of education, equal rights, income equality and an increase in a living wage. In addition, Anderson has pushed for affordable care options for the thousands of uninsured Mississippians who need quality healthcare, which includes preventing rural hospitals and clinics from closing.
Anderson also highlighted the fact that many Mississippians that receive education here typically plan to seek gainful employment non-domestic to Mississippi because of the lack of a desire to stay in this “backwards state.” He wants to pursue the root of the problem by planting seeds of opportunity throughout the state that can bear fruit one day if properly watered and move our state forward for everyone to benefit.
Senior social work major Michaela Andrews said, “I want to see millennials take it [voting] more seriously.” Andrews, who is about to age out of her parent’s insurance, wants to see changes to make insurance and healthcare affordable and accessible.
Sophomore psychology major Caitlin Betancourt identifies as a Republican and plans to support Palazzo. Betancourt did not attend the event.
“I think Palazzo can represent District 4 successfully because he holds values that I would say a great part of Mississippi holds in general,” Betancourt said. “He would not be in the position he is currently in if people did not like him.”
Ammons said Anderson has had two town halls in the last couple of months. Ammons said accountability separates Anderson from Palazzo. “Our opponent, he doesn’t show up in the district. He won’t have a town hall. He won’t meet with his constituents.”
“Its not about Republicans. Its not about Democrats. Its about being accountable to your constituents. Its about being accountable to Mississippi.” Ammons said. “Congressman Palazzo thinks that it’s his seat, and he doesn’t understand that the seat belongs to the people.”
Students can register to vote and find their local precinct for the upcoming elections by visiting www.vote.org.