At just 21 years of age, fourth-year political science major Hunter Koch has already established himself in local politics.
This month, Koch filed his paperwork to run as a Democrat for the Michigan State Senate as he looks to win the 32nd District seat held by incumbent Ken Horn.
“Running for State Senate has been an option on the table for the past six months to a year,” Koch said. “It was a decision I planned on making for a while, and I just wanted to see what kind of support I had in the greater community.”
In the past, Koch, a native of St. Charles, ran for county commissioner of Saginaw County’s 6th district. Presently, he has a seat on the St. Charles Board of Education and is the Vice President of SVSU’s College Democrats.
“I think it’s super important to be involved (at a young age), especially in the political arena,” Koch said. “If you’re not involved, you’re not going to be listened to. At the very least, it’s important to have some kind of knowledge of what is going on and to be a consistent voter.”
Erik Trump, professor of Political Science, agreed that young people should get involved because the current issues directly impact their lives.
“It’s important for young people to get involved with politics for several reasons,” Trump said. “Their demographic is the least likely to vote or participate in politics, yet many public policy issues affect their lives quite directly. Moreover, at the local level especially, they can actually run successfully for elected office and make a positive contribution to the community.”
Once he graduates in May, Koch will be in full campaign swing as the November election nears.
When it comes to running the campaign, he emphasized that most campaign successes begin and end with money. In addition to the finances, Koch says he also needs more boots on the ground within his team for campaign work.
“Money is something that sadly plays such a large role in our political system,” Koch said. “I’m trying to fundraise in a way that is efficient. I’m trying to build my team up larger, both with paid and unpaid internships, students and young people. I also want someone on my team to focus solely on making money because it is such a difficult thing to do.”
Koch’s campaign platform focuses on the economy, education and ridding the state of corruption. More importantly, Koch says he wants to be a consumer of data, something that he says will tie all three of his campaign ideas together.
“When I speak about wanting to keep prevailing wages, repeal right to work, invest in education and make Michigan less corrupt … all of these things have concrete data evidence that show that they will help Michigan,” Koch said. “(It will) help Michigan’s economy grow, and citizens in the lowest socioeconomic status will grow at just as much of a rate as everyone else. These pieces of data are what everyone dreams about regarding Michigan being a utopia.”