On election night, people everywhere flocked to the nearest television set waiting for their futures to be revealed. On Tuesday night, the city of Hays did just that with watch parties all over town.
On campus, the American Democracy project hosted an election watch party with free pizza and games
“We think it’s important to give the community and our Fort Hays State University family the opportunity to watch the elections,” said Sandi Grigoryan, project coordinator for the Center for Civic Leadership.
With ADP not having a student director, organizing events such as these have been a difficult task, but Grigoryan said they pulled through.
“It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t have someone who could focus all of their time onto the party. We’ve all had to kind of pitch in at the Center while we all have our own projects going. It wasn’t just put together, but it wasn’t everyone’s primary project, so that differently affects how it goes,” Grigoryan said.
For freshmen Kelly Whitaker and Kaitlyn Paul, Tuesday night was an important night in their lives as they watched the fate of the country.
“We’re going to live in this country one day, so we should probably know what’s going on in it,” Whitaker said.
“Were going to the leaders, and we need to know what is happening today, because it’s important,” Paul said.
Both Paul and Whitaker voted early with mail-in ballots, and say that political events have been something they have both paid much attention to.
“Junior year, I had an English teacher that kind of forced us to pay attention, so that’s when I figured out most of it. And since then, I have been watching,” Whitaker said.
While the event wrapped up in Forsyth, many of the people of Hays were still celebrating at the Jerry Moran election party at the Robbins Center.
In front of a room packed with supporters at his old college, congressman Jerry Moran was declared the victor in the Kansas race for U.S. Senate.
“The beginning of greater opportunity and freedom, liberty in our country, begins tonight,” Moran said.
Moran, the 14-year representative of the Kansas 1st Congressional District, pledged to remain true to his roots to supporters who have embraced a congressman who visits his home in Hays on a weekly basis.
“I will never forget where I came from,” Moran said. “I’ll never forget who I am, I’ll never forget who got me there, all for the purpose of trying to make certain the next generation of Americans can enjoy the freedoms and liberties guaranteed by our Constitution and have the opportunities to pursue their dreams.”
Moran reflected on accomplishments that brought him to prominence in the state legislature, then to the U.S. House and Senate.
“Most of you know me, know where I came from, know my experiences,” Moran said, “and there’s nothing in my life that would ever suggest that Jerry Moran would ever have got the opportunity to grow up and be a member of the House of Representatives and now to be a member of the United States Senate.”
Moran’s victory announcement came on the heels of several anticipated Republican victories across the country. Several news outlets began announcing Republicans had won control of the House of Representatives moments before Moran delivered his victory speech.
He later said that if Republicans intended to stay in power, they would need to do many things differently.
“One of the things I’ve asked my House colleagues to do is if the American people give the Republican party a chance to be the majority, we need to govern differently than we did the last time we were in the majority,” Moran said. “Because, in my opinion, Republicans spent too much money, borrowed too much money and moved government in size and scope in a way that we cannot afford, and I think that message has been received.”
Moran said the most pressing issue facing the country is the economy, but doesn’t know how well Congress will work with the Obama administration over the next two years.
“It remains to be seen what President Obama will do in regard to his attitude as a result of this election,” Moran said. “Does he continue down a path that at least many of us believe is detrimental to the country, or is willing to come together and try to find solutions to American problems with a Republican majority in the House and a new Senate? I think there’s a lot of questions to be told, some to be answered by Republicans and how they behave, but a lot to be answered by President Obama and his administration and what they pursue.”
Moran said that as a senator, he first and foremost wants to work on the deficit, which he argues affects national security as well as the economy.
“Republicans and Democrats and the American public recognize that spending has got to be controlled and we’ve got to pay down the debt. So if there’s a primary motivation that needs to be done, the program that needs to be started, it has to start with government spending.”