2020 has been a difficult year, mostly due to the pandemic, but with it also being an election year, the divisive spirit seems more alive than in the past. This can lead people to lose hope in leaders and feel uncertain about the future. The Network had the opportunity to see two of our state leaders display quite the opposite at our October edition of Access to the Issues.
Senator Lincoln Hough and Representative Crystal Quade sit on “opposite sides of the aisle”, yet have collaborated many times in an effort to fight for what is best for the people and community. Their willingness to put aside differences and work together was inspiring and encouraging for YPs to see. They shared how they have led through this crisis, what they have learned and how we can continue to stay involved.
Here are some top takeaways:
• This legislative session was difficult, but thankfully the legislative session is never exactly “normal”, so they were still able to get several things across the finish line.
• When it comes to how they collaborate even through their differences, Sen. Hough shared with us his philosophy: “Mutual respect is something that all people deserve, even if you don’t see eye to eye on something.” For both of them, the desire to work together is rooted in a desire to see our community thrive and to do what is right for the people.
• The Network travels to Jefferson City each year to meet with statewide leaders, but were unable to this year due to the pandemic, so we asked how we can continue to stay engaged with our state lawmakers:
• Rep. Quade stated, “There are not enough YPs involved.” She wants to hear from average people about how issues will actually affect them. We have to keep getting involved!
• Sen. Hough shared that he believes there is a misconception that state leaders don’t have time to talk or pick up the phone. This is not true! “When you reach out, it makes a difference.”
• We also asked, If a YP came up to you today and said they wanted to run for office, what would your advice be?
• “Do some soul searching and really determine why you want to run,” Sen. Hough said. Serving in government is one of the best ways to give back to your community.
• Rep. Quade encouraged us that, “too often young people, and women, don’t feel they have enough experience to run.” She promised that you do, and running, regardless if you win or lose, is a great experience. “It helps you determine who you want to be.”
In our current environment, it is easy to focus on the negatives, so to close out the event, our speakers shared with us something they’ve learned in the past few months. Rep. Quade has been excited to see how much more accessible things have become to many members of our community due to more use of technology. She hopes to continue seeing that accessibility for all people after the pandemic. Sen. Hough urged us to, “remain hopeful in your community and remain hopeful in the future of your community.”
Springfield young professionals have always had access to key leaders, but especially in these times, we are grateful to have access to our state leaders and have the opportunity to make a difference.
Watch the full recording of the event below: