The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 30, 2014

Susan Redden: Washington gridlock spurred candidacy

JOPLIN, Mo. — She’s young, a woman and a Democrat. Those three factors, especially in combination, may seem like insurmountable obstacles, but Genevieve Williams doesn’t think so.

The 26-year-old Neosho resident is a candidate for Congress from Missouri’s 7th District.

“All those things could be advantages,” Williams said. “The Constitution says I’m qualified to run. I have the youthful energy and the drive, and I’m more likely to be affected by the decisions being made in Congress right now, so I have a dog in this fight.”

Williams said she also believes now is the right time to run because of the current gridlock and other problems in Washington.

“If I wait until the more traditional age, I don’t know what’s going to be left,” she said. “There’s so much obstructionism. I think we’ve lost our guiding principles. And think about it — in any job, in any other setting, people who refused to work together like they’re doing would be fired.”

Williams studied alternative energy at Crowder College and now is a student in the journalism program at Missouri State University in Springfield. She has worked in economic development and marketing, and she helped found the Joplin Tornado Info site on Facebook just after the 2011 tornado. She is co-author of a guide published by University of Missouri Extension called “The Use of Social Media for Disaster Recovery” outlining practices learned after the disaster. She is a lifelong Southwest Missouri resident.

Williams said that when she first filed for the race, she wanted to give voters an alternative to Rep. Billy Long, the Republican from Springfield who has held the office since 2011. But now, in Republican-dominated Southwest Missouri, there are two Democrats on the ballot.

Jim Evans, of Republic, who challenged Long two years ago, filed after Williams became an official candidate.

“At the time, no one had filed on the Democrat ticket, and I just think no one anywhere should run unopposed, no matter what the party,” Williams said.

She said she has spoken to Evans at length and is “excited that there are two candidates.”

“Let’s give people a choice,” she said.

Williams said she wants her candidacy to show “you don’t have to be rich or powerful to run, and you don’t have to be divisive to serve.”

Long also has an opponent in the Republican primary, Marshall Works, of Springfield.

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