Webster University Student Government Association Senator Andrew Young was in a car accident when he…
Webster student announces run for St. Francois county clerk
Webster University political science major Andrew Young, a registered Democrat, plans to run in the November election for the position of St. Francois county clerk. The current St. Francois county clerk of 16 years, Mark Hedrick, announced he will retire at the end of his term on Dec. 31.
Young said his goals as county clerk include serving the constituents in the county, increasing young adult voter turnout and promoting fair and safe elections for everyone. Young cites the car accident which left him physically disabled in 2010 as the reason for his decision to run for office.
“Being able to run for that office, I would be able to serve everyone in that county, to repay the debt for their service,” Young said.
Young will run against Rep. Kevin Engler, a Republican from the Farmington area, who will be retiring from his position as a state representative due to term limits.
“I feel like it’s going to be a very difficult race because he has a name that is well-known by everybody there,” Young said. “I believe that if I am actually able to get out and talk to everybody, I want to go door-to-door and talk to everybody and have my name heard, I believe that yes I have a chance.”
Missouri General Assembly
As a spring semester intern at Jefferson City, Young’s work day begins at 7:30 in the morning. He drives his truck – a tan Ford Ranger with a personalized license plate which says “IM DREW” – from his apartment in Jefferson City, Mo., to the State Capitol building.
Young said he does not have a reserved parking spot yet, but he always arrives early enough to find suitable parking close to the building. From there, he walks to the State Senators’ parking garage and up to the main floor in an elevator.
Offices line the sides of the entirety of the first floor, and Young makes his way to the shared offices of the state representatives where he works directly with state officials.
Young said his first day of the Missouri General Assembly internship program was very overwhelming as he talked to all of the government officials and listened to their discussions on bill proposals.
“I felt like I was the small guy, that I didn’t know what I was doing,” Young said.
Young’s internship responsibilities include anything from answering constituent mail and researching legislation to answering and helping draft speeches. Young said he will even give public tours of the Capitol.
“I’m just waiting to get the basics of that,” Young said. “I know some, but I could learn a lot more.”
Before starting the internship, Young had to select a state representative to work with directly. The interns typically find someone who has a similar political ideology. This representative, in Young’s case, was Doug Beck.
“I think we are really close, my main focus is working class and I’m a labor person, and public education and those are all of things that Andrew agrees with,” Beck said. “He’s been a great resource, helping me research.”
Beck is the State Representative of District 92, which includes the areas of Afton, Grantwood Village, Lakeshire and parts of Concord, Sappington and Crestwood. Young acts as a sort of right hand man to Beck. He often sits in on committee meetings when Beck is unable to go. Young said this happens often because several of the committees Beck works with are scheduled on the same day and at the same time.
Young said he is also required to write a daily diary entry detailing all of the projects he worked on. After he writes them, he sends the diary entries Webster professor Gwyneth Williams. Williams oversees the 15-credit internship and advises the interns working at Jefferson City during the spring.
“[Young] is very knowledgeable about government itself and interested in somehow working within government in some way,” Williams said.
Young said his first foray into politics happened because of an art class. While working on a social art project in his senior year, Young said he was inspired by two pieces of legislation brought before Congress that year: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).
Young said both of these laws caught his attention because they would restrict the privacy of internet users. Studying these two proposed laws was just the tip of the political iceberg for him.
“I started doing more research into it and see what else goes before Congress, and it blew my mind as to what we do not know,” Young said.
After Young graduated from high school, he began volunteering with Living Independently for Everyone Center (LIFE) located in Farmington. LIFE helps people with disabilities live independently and seeks to promote accessible housing, transportation and employment for physically disabled individuals.
Young soon found himself advocating for people with disabilities in front of state legislators at the Capitol.
“He’s a wonderful example of bringing diversity through different abilities and physical challenges and he’s not letting that stand in his way,” Williams said.