Congressional hopeful answers questions at Town Hall event

Democratic candidate for Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District Randy Wadkins participated in a community town hall Thursday, answering questions concerning healthcare, education, jobs and environmental impact.
For Daily Times Leader

Democratic candidate for Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District Randy Wadkins participated in a community town hall Thursday and fielded questions and concerns from a handful of citizens.

The event was hosted by the progressive grass roots organization Indivisible Golden Triangle group.

At the beginning of the town hall, Wadkins gave his background as a Mississippian along with his professional experience and political platform. He currently lives in Oxford where he taught chemistry at the University of Mississippi for 14 years. Wadkins then opened the floor for questions from the public, where a broad range of topics were discussed, including healthcare, education, jobs and environmental impact.

Once questions concluded, members in the crowd discussed personal stories, explaining frustrations with hopes of finding answers.

After the event, Wadkins said he was interested about the conversations that were brought up by those participating. He said there are many people upset with the current state of the federal government and those people want to make changes in the 2018 election.

Wadkins will run for congress against Republican incumbent Trent Kelly in the 2018 midterm election.

“These folks are fired up,” Wadkins said. “If you wait until a year from now it’s too late, it’s already over.”

Wadkins said with this healthy discussion, he was able to learn and identify a common thread connecting all of the counties in the district.

“We are all cut from the same cloth just about,” Wadkins said.

Wadkins said people need to remember that the people in government are just that, people. He then addressed what he views as a disconnect between people and politics and it is important to reconnect with those who are trying to help.“

Over the years the government has become so demonized that people begin to think of them as some other thing,” Wadkins said.

Organizer of the event, Karin Lee, feels there was a healthy dialogue that helped accurately voice questions and concerns to the congressional candidate. She felt the most effective part of the event was the personal anecdotes shared among those attending.

Not only were people voicing concerns, they were also giving practical advice.

“People can relate to that more than anything,” Lee said.

Lee said it is important to stand up for what you believe in by attending town halls, researching candidates and showing support for those who you think will properly represent you. She said there is a benefit in political discourse and dialogue because it is a way for people to find common ground even while in disagreement. That’s what she hopes to achieve with these meetings.

“If you’re not involved, you’re losing out.” Lee said.

Lee emphasized becoming involved because citizens have a hand in actually making a difference and many people wish they had that freedom.

“It’s something worth protecting,” Lee said. “It also means you can be a part of changing this future.”

Mississippi’s first congressional district is located in the northeast portion of the state including Alcorn, Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Desoto, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Lowndes, Marshall, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tate, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union, Webster and Winston counties and a portion of Oktibbeha County. The midterm election will take place on Nov. 6, 2018