“I believe it’s time for a new voice, a new generation to be in local politics.” –Billy Garner
In addition to being a senator for the Associated Student Government, secretary for ESU Young Democrats, political chair for P.R.I.D.E. and treasurer of the Environmental Club of ESU, Billy Garner, sophomore secondary social science education major, is running for the office of Lyon County Clerk.
“I believe it’s time for a new voice, a new generation to be in local politics,” Garner said.
Garner chose to run for Lyon County Clerk after attending a Lyon County Democrats meeting in April during which a speaker asked if any of the attendees would be interested in running.
If elected, he would be the election overseer for Lyon County, in charge of voter registration, and be the record keeper for meetings of elected officials.
“I think he will make an excellent County Clerk because although he hasn’t called Emporia his home for too long, he values his neighbors, the university and the rest of the community and strives to make it better,” said Zoe Bartlett, senior rehabilitation services major and member of ESU Young Democrats.
Garner, originally from Meriden, said he believes that the Voter ID Registration law, that went into effect this year, will have a disastrous effect on Kansas, and he is hoping to change that. He said that it will be difficult for the elderly to gain a photo ID, especially for those who have not had driver’s licenses for a while. It will also be difficult for college students who may be living in different states from the addresses listed on their driver’s licenses.
“(The Voter ID law) ruins the simplicity of voting…many people are just going to find that difficult and say ‘Well, I’m just going to stay home,’” Garner said. “Voting is one of the greatest rights we have.”
Garner also said he believes that the money spent on the law could be better spent on education, infrastructure or transportation.
Racheal Countryman, junior communication major and public affairs director for ASG, said that she thinks Garner is qualified for the job because he was only a freshman when he joined ASG and has been very successful thus far. Countryman also said that it will be a big challenge since Garner is new to the area and may have to withdraw from some of his activities if he is elected.
If elected, Garner said he will have to resign from ASG and take only two online or evening classes at ESU.
“Actually, if I were elected, this would take off a lot of stress because I would only have to work on one thing (at the office),” Garner said. “As a student, I have to work on homework and work and organizations.”
Garner said that he is a caring individual, and when he sees something that has a disastrous effect upon many individuals, he is motivated to work on changing it. His official campaign website is BillyGarner.com.