Local political candidates meet with students on campus


Baswanth Naidu / The Sunflower

Jalon Britton, candidate for Kansas representative of District 85, interacts with students involved with Student Government Association at the local candidate meet and greet event on Sept. 26.

110 candidates are running for some type of office in Sedgwick County. All of these candidates had the opportunity to meet with students at Wichita State. 11 showed up.

“We invited any candidate that had filed to run into a Sedgwick County,”  Loren Below, civic engagement coordinator, said.

In addition to the 11 candidates (or representatives of candidates) that appeared at the event, the League of Women Voters attended.

The candidate meet and greet event was hosted by the Shockers Vote! coalition, which aims to increase voter participation among WSU students.

“We are bringing candidates here to meet students and to answer their questions and give them an opportunity to meet candidates inside Sedgwick County,” Below said.

The event was open to all students interested in meeting with their local candidates, about 100 students attended during the two-hour event. 

“I decided to come today because … I am from Dallas, Texas, so I really have no knowledge whatsoever on what’s going on in Kansas as far as locally,” Iris Okere, SGA Diversity Empowerment and Inclusion Chair, said. “So, I wanted to get some more knowledge today on the different things going on in Wichita.”

Candidates attending the event ranged from officials running for reelection to candidates who had never put their names on the ballot before.

“I got tired of seeing everybody else just take control,” Mitsi Hobbs, Democratic candidate for District 82 for the Kansas House of Representatives, said. “In my area, we had a representative that didn’t live in our district that continued to represent us, and also it just continued to be handed off from Republican to Republican. People weren’t challenging the status quo.”

Others are deciding to run for the first time in hopes of changing the narrative between different political ideologies.

“The toxicity has really stagnated progress here, and, whether you’re Republican or Democrat, we’ve got to work harder to bridge that gap and promote relational health in the community,” Ryan Baty, Republican candidate for Sedgwick County Commission in District 4, said.

Current candidates running for office in Sedgwick County can be found at sedgwickcounty.org.