Republican candidate for Congress speaks at Webster
Abortion. Immigration. The job market. The economy. On Sept. 16, students in an Introduction to Media Writing class had the opportunity to ask Ed Martin, who is running for Congress, his take on these hot-button issues.
Martin (R-Mo.), who will face off against U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D- 3rd District) in the Nov. 2 election, pretended the students in the media writing class were members of the press. After speaking about the upcoming election and why he decided to come to Webster, Martin fielded questions from students so that the students could get a feel for what a political press conference is like.
Rob Rains, an adjunct professor at Webster and teacher of the media writing class, said he has known Martin for several years. Martin used to do an in-town radio show, which was produced by Rains’ wife, Sally.
Rains said he knew Martin would be a good guest speaker for the class because of Martin’s background in the media. In addition to working as a radio broadcaster, Martin has appeared on broadcast and cable news shows and has written columns for local newspapers and websites.
“I expected him to come in and do a good job of communicating well,” Rains said. “His history of being involved in the media before makes him a good speaker and he performs well in front of an audience.”
Martin said he visited the Introduction to Media Writing class in an effort to encourage students to get involved in the upcoming election. Martin also participated in Webster’s Pizza and Politics event with Bob Holden on Sept. 15.
“This election is really about the future of our country,” Martin said. “The next four or five decades are going to be where you face the decisions that are being made today, and in the next couple of years.”
Martin said that both political parties need to have an adult conversation with each other about the government’s recent spending explosion. He added that Congress must get its priorities in order to better serve America’s needs.
A focal point of Martin’s speech, which lasted nearly 10 minutes before he opened up the mock press conference for student questions, was the job market. Martin said he struggled to land a job after graduating from college, which helps him relate to what students have to go through today.
“It’s not your fault that the economy is where it is, but it is the reality of what you’re facing,” Martin said. “I’m sorry for you and I hope we can do better in the next few years.”
Once Martin completed his speech, students fired questions that covered a wide range of topics. Dave Denlow, a sophomore business management and marketing double major, asked Martin about the future of Missouri agriculture and the Israel- Palestine conflict. Denlow said he was pleased with Martin’s responses.
“He was very comfortable about his own issues and being able to express them with a room of people (with) differing beliefs and values,” Denlow said. “But he’s not afraid to talk about what he wants to do. He hasn’t gotten there yet to do it, but he is still in that stage of wanting to be good for not just the community, but for the United States. He’s going to give Carnahan a run for his money.”
Other student questions covered such topics as abortion, immigration and the St. Louis Tea Party. Martin said he opposes using tax dollars for abortions. He said he’s in favor of securing the U.S.-Mexico border with high fences and broad gates, and enforcing the immigration laws that are already in place.
Rains said he’s had guest speakers for the media writing class in the past, but he has never invited a politician. Rains felt the students enjoyed Martin’cs presentation, and he hopes college students will voice their opinions at the voting booths.
“It’s a crucial election for the country,” Rains said. “It’s something that not only the kids in this class, but all university students should be involved in trying to make sure they’re registered to vote and get out and vote.”
Rains said that many people take elections like the Nov. 2 one-those not involving a presidential race-for granted. He said the upcoming election is almost equally important as the ’08 presidential election.
Denlow said he was thrilled he had the opportunity to engage in conversation with Martin, especially considering the setting.
“It’s a really good thing that a Republican came to a liberal school because we needed to hear the differences of opinion,” Denlow said. “We needed to hear some kids in the class speak out and say, ‘Well hey, what do you think about this issue?’
“It’s really interesting to hear his different views. I fully listened with all ears because the man wants to get things done. He’s really trying because he feels like he can do it.”