Story by Bailey Bohannan, Staff writer
Despite a competitive election for governor this fall between Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway, Murray State Republican and Democratic activists aren’t working for either of the campaigns.
Both the Bevin campaign and Conway campaign have internship opportunities for students to work in areas of fundraising and communications. But unlike college students from other universities, Murray State students haven’t gotten involved in those internships.
Instead, some Murray State students are getting involved in this governor’s race in other ways.
With less than a month before the Nov. 3 election, the Murray State College Democrats have held debate watch parties and have focused more on their online efforts through the group’s Facebook page on the upcoming 2016 presidential campaign.
The Murray State College Republicans have started a “Students for Bevin” group.
Ellen Adkisson, a senior from Frankfort, Kentucky, and a member of the Murray State College Republicans, said she hadn’t heard of the internship opportunity.
The internships are aimed at giving students a window into the innerworkings of highly competitive campaigns, said Jessica Ditto, the communications director with the Bevin campaign.
The campaigns also affect students because the outcome of this race will affect students’ education in the future.
The Youth for Matt Bevin Program is ideal for “highly-motivated students that are interested in learning more about the public policy process and helping elect Matt Bevin as Kentucky’s next governor,” Ditto said.
Conway’s campaign offers similar opportunities for students.
“The Conway-Overly internship program affords students the opportunity to gain valuable campaign experience in fundraising, communications and political outreach,” said Daniel Kemp, the spokesman for Conway’s campaign. “Our internships offer students who share Jack and Sannie’s values a firsthand look into how campaigns work and an opportunity to learn from influential community leaders.”
A third candidate, independent Drew Curtis, is running a more limited campaign and doesn’t offer an internship program.
Each candidate holds a different plan for the future of education in Kentucky.
Bevin focuses most of his efforts concerning education toward kindergarten through 12th grade, according to his campaign webpage.
Conway’s plan for higher education focuses on making sure colleges and universities are training students to be better prepared for careers.
“We can be doing more to align our university, college and technical college systems with the needs of employers so that students have access to relevant education programs and are prepared to enter the workforce,” Conway said in his Kentucky education plan.
Each campaign encourages students to apply for the internship, but Murray State students are not taking advantage of these opportunities within the campaigns.
“It is time for us, the everyday citizens, to once again take political ownership of our state and our country,” Bevin wrote in a letter to potential interns.