Former Senate candidate Jason Kander condemns voter suppression at UC Berkeley event

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Yukun Zhang/Staff

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12/12/2017: This article has been updated to reflect that the event was co-hosted with the Goldman School of Public Policy and the ASUC Office of the External Affairs Vice President. 

Jason Kander, former secretary of state of Missouri and Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri in 2016, spoke about his stance on voting rights and the role of the next generation at a campus event Thursday evening.

Kander, a U.S. Army veteran, founded Let America Vote in 2017, a program which aims to fight back against proposals to suppress voters. He also hosts a podcast called “Majority 54,” where he discusses political issues and attempts to invoke communication between Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters.

Kander spoke at the Haas School of Business in an event hosted by the Berkeley Forum, where he addressed a crowd of around 50 people. The event was co-hosted with the Goldman School of Public Policy and the ASUC Office of the External Affairs Vice President

“Politics is about trying to be a good person,” Kander said during the event.

Kander spoke about how some politicians think acting is the way to appeal to American voters. He claimed that voters look for people with everyday courage and not just policy and rhetoric.

Voters don’t look to agree with everything a politician says, but rather to see if a politician cares and stands for what they believe in, according to Kander.

Kander expressed his thoughts and hopes for the upcoming generation during his talk. He said stereotyping the millennial generation as lazy and entitled is incorrect and that millennials want more than just a paycheck, which he said is a patriotic quality.

“This is a generation that has a real drive to go to work and do a job that is consistent with the way they see themselves,” Kander said during the event.

In response to a question about low voter participation and less trust in Washington, Kander said that this is the fault of the politicians, not the voters. He compared politicians blaming voters for low turnout to a lawyer blaming a jury for a lost case.

Kander said during the event that voting rights should not be a partisan issue. He said some elected Republican officials are in favor of voter suppression because it allows them to keep winning and that a major goal of his program, Let America Vote, is to inform people of their voting rights.

Many students were in the audience to listen to Kander speak. Alex Zhu, a campus junior, said that he attended the event because he thinks Kander is an “inspiring individual.”

Andrew Pastor, a recent campus alumnus, said he is a listener of Kander’s podcast, “Majority 54.”

“I’m going into medicine, but policy is something we should all be focused in on,” Pastor said.

When Kander was asked about what he would do differently in the next U.S. Senate race in order to win, he responded, “I wouldn’t do anything differently.”

Contact Rishabh Nijhawan at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @realRishNij.