The Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) recently announced its legislative team for the 2018-19 school year. Two of the group’s legislative interns are UMKC’s very own Michael Jenkins and Dominique Paje.
The pair are among eight interns selected throughout the four UM system schools. The process included 80 total applicants.
The legislative team will work in Jefferson City to lobby lawmakers to meet the needs of students in the state. ASUM is a non-partisan student organization who, according to their website, have lobbied for UM system students since 1975.
The organizations current agenda highlights six platforms. The platforms include: eliminating base tax on diapers, menstrual products and incontinence products; obtain two students votes on UM system board of curators; prison education reform; STEM scholarships; automatic voter registration; and inclusive tuition.
Each intern will be tasked with becoming an expert on one of the issues. Paje’s platform is the eliminating the base tax and Jenkins will work on adding student curators.
“There are 30 states where the state university system has a student curator that has voting rights,” said Jenkins. “The point is to have actual efficacy.”
The organization will look to move forward on their six platforms. School specific platforms such as the conservatory will not be covered in their platforms. The UM system has their own lobbyist to gain funding.
“We tend to focus on broader issues that will affect students as a whole,” said Jenkins.
Paje and Jenkins will be acting as lobbyist for the first time. They will be operating in with professional lawmakers for the first time.
“I know that when I walk in there they are going to think: oh it’s a student Either I will be equated as a child or a liberal hippie.” said Paje. “My first job is to prove to them that I am not any of those things and I am here as a representative to the over 70 thousand students on the UM system campus.”
Paje explained that her platform will benefit all people in the state including the lawmakers district. She will drive home that point to the lawmakers.
“It comes with the attitude when you walk in a lawmaker’s office, “said Jenkins. “We are there because it is our job.”
The pair is excited to work with the legislative team, and to work with lawmakers to change policy.