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Gubernatorial Debate Ignites Competition

By Madeleine Henderson (Clark City) & Iris Alvarez (Crowder City)

Yesterday, the schedule was jam-packed for American Legion Auxiliary Missouri Girls State citizens and candidates. The day started with last-minute primary elections followed by the third assembly which included the Girls Nation extemporaneous question, primary election results and party presentations. In the early afternoon, Sarah Kellogg, political journalist for St. Louis Public Radio, spoke with ALA MGS citizens to be shortly followed by the eagerly awaited Gubernatorial Debate.

The Gubernatorial Debate featured Nationalist candidate Claire Gwak and Federalist candidate Elise Lewis. The debate was led by featured students from the Journalism School.

To begin the debate, each candidate gave their opening remarks and re-established their campaign platforms. Lewis’s message is one of cooperation. “Work together” was a phrase often used to bridge the gap between groups that would usually disagree. She also advocates for ALA MGS delegates that would like a health policy class, military representation and efficient meal shifts.

“Be the initiative; make the changes,” Lewis said.

Gwak campaigns heavily with her slogan “Walk With Gwak'' indicating that she, as a woman of color, member of the LGBTQ+ community and daughter in a working class family, can walk alongside the members of ALA MGS. She highlighted her ability to relate to others’ struggles and push for their representation in government.

“What I stand for is diversity, unity, connection and new perspectives,” Gwak said.

Thanks to ALA MGS citizens, Gwak and Lewis faced some difficult question topics ranging from free speech to the infrastructure and systems of America. When asked what impact they would like to have, both on ALA MGS and the world, each candidate had a unique answer. Gwak responded first, stating that her biggest takeaway from ALA MGS was the inner change and confidence she has developed. Lewis described how ALA MGS has given her the power to use her voice, particularly as a woman in politics and that the program has inspired her to make change in her own community.

Both candidates displayed great intelligence, bravery and passion for not only the ALA MGS program but, most importantly, the citizens. Voting will be held in Spellmann from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m on Thursday.

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