Grimes addresses students on civic health

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes addresses Buck Ryan's journalism 101 class about the importance of citizen participation in politics on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 in the Cat's Den at UK in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Adam Pennavaria | Staff

By Nini Edwards | @KyKernel

Promoting civic health and government to students was the main topic Wednesday morning in the Cats Den.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes led the forum with seven other leaders speaking behind her.

Among the leaders were Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Student Body President Stephen Bilas.

One supporter for Grimes is former President Bill Clinton who has recently expressed his support for her to run for Senate rather than supporting the award-winning actress Ashley Judd.

When asked if she will run for Senate, Grimes deterred the question by stating what she needs to focus on at the moment.

“My focus has to remain on making sure we have some legislation that has to come out that updates our voting laws, so we don’t have the problem that we had last year, which was 300 military and overseas ballots that we couldn’t count because they came after 6 p.m. on election day.”

Grimes kept the entirety of the forum completely under control as she kept the meeting on topic. Issues varying from negative affects of social media to reaching minorities were addressed in the forum.

Many students stood to voice their experiences and thoughts on strengthening the political bond with society.

Blacks came close to whites as a whole in terms of political engagement. This was not the case in Kentucky where 62.5 percent of whites reported at least one political activity and only 40.8 percent of blacks, according to Grimes.

Junior Zack Hodge stood up to point out the lack of minorities in office.

“I think it is pretty obvious looking at this table, there are no African Americans up there,” Hodge said while pointing toward the table where Grimes was sitting. “And I think the government of Kentucky is probably a lot lower than other states in terms of African Americans holding a seat in the government.”

Freshman Amanda Conway contributed by declaring she was deprived of a political upbringing and has taken it upon herself to become engaged in the democratic world.

“I am not going to stand up here and act like I am smart or very aware of being involved because where I come from it is a rural area … I haven’t seen awareness for voting. I am not aware and it is because of where I come from,” Conway said.

Grimes congratulated the two students, Zack Hodge and Amanda Conway, for their courage and honesty and encouraged the rest of the student body to be their own “Zack and Amanda.”