Thursday, October 4, 2007
Art Arton Switches Parties, Runs for State House
Anthony "Art" Arton, who is due to graduate from the University of Central Missouri (UCM) in December, is the former President of the UCM College Republicans and a former intern for Republican Rep. David Pearce (who is running for the state Senate). And now he's looking to fill his old boss's shoes in the 121st District... as a Democrat!
According to this post at Show Me Progress by Michael Bersin, there are two other Democratic candidates. They are Jeff Alvarado who lost by a wide margin to Pearce in 2006 and Jim Jackson the former Warrensburg mayor, who lost to Pierce in 2002.
Now for some interesting tidbits.
* The 121st is in Sen. Chris Koster's district.
* Arton is the current student member of the UCM Board of Governors. Also on the Board is former Rep. Deleta Williams (D) who held this seat before Pearce.
* You can find Arton's Facebook group here. It already has 262 members.
Here's the exclusive Young MO Politico interview with Arton...
YMP: What made you decide to run for State Representative?
AA: I feel like this is the perfect time in my life to run for an open seat. I think the issues that are important to our generation (Education, Health Care and the Environment)need to be addressed now and I think I am the candidate who will go down to Jefferson City and fight for those issues. There is a lot at stake and we can not afford to allow these problems to get any worse.
YMP: Why did you switch parties to run as Democrat?
AA: When I began considering my candidacy I started writing down issues that were important to me. Issues that were important to me in the past and issues that are important to me and our future. When I look at the issues that face our generation I realized that the Republican Party was no longer a good fit for me. People always ask me why did you change your values? I havent changed my values I just re-prioritized them.
YMP: How do the College Republicans at UCM feel about your party switch? And the College Democrats?
AA: The College Republicans are disappointed, but they have also been very understanding. A lot of them are close friends of mine and people I shared many evenings with on the campaign trail. So I think it's tough for them to see me go. The College Democrats seem to be pretty excited about my switch. Although many of them are new members and dont realize what party I was with before.
YMP: How do you intend to use the campus community to your advantage in your race?
AA: In every way possible. Grassroots will be a huge part of my campaign and I will be counting on a lot of help from a lot of different students. Also I expect there will be a lot of faculty/staff that will help support me because of my position on the Board of Governors and they know that I am passionate about public education specifically higher education and they know that I will be the candidate that will fight for more funding.
YMP: Why do you think you can win?
AA: I believe I am a good candidate that can relate to the issues. I understand what it is like to be low-income and have to live pay-check to pay-check. I understand what it is like to not have health insurance. I believe that there are many people out there who have shared my struggle, and if I can remain competitive in the fundraising and utilize the volunteer base I have through the campus community I can take the primary and go one to win the general.
YMP: Have you received support from some local Democrats?
AA: Yes. And it has surprised me. I think they feel like having a young candidate is a positive. They understand that our generation has the most at stake and I believe they feel that I bring the new ideas and new approaches to this race.