TORRINGTON – Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Merav Ben-David, Ph.D., made a campaign stop at City Park in Torrington on Oct. 9 following the Senate debate at Eastern Wyoming College the night before.
A few democratic voters turned out for a conversation with Ben-David about her plans to improve Wyoming and the nation as a whole if elected to office. Ben-David travels light, with just a few signs, a staffer and a polar bear.
The polar bear in the red scarf, named Dave, travels with the campaign in hopes of engaging “the younger crowd,” some of whom may not be voting age yet. Dave is photographed in different locations around Wyoming, for a game titled “where in Wyoming is Dave.”
People guess where he is and those who guess correctly are entered in a raffle to win Dave and take him home on Nov. 4, the day after election day.
“It’s just to get (young people) more aware and hopefully, later on, registered to vote and then to vote,” Ben-David said.
Torrington residents who attended the event agreed with Ben-David in the fact that young people are not as engaged in politics as they could and should be.
Tom McCreery, a member of Eastern Wyoming College’s Board of Trustees, said he would like to see Torrington’s youth study politics at the local, state and national levels.
“It’s so important that everybody votes. I don’t care who you vote for,” McCreery said.
EWC has political science classes in their social sciences department, according to their website. McCreery said he hopes to see more diversity among the college’s student body in the future, in terms of gender, race, socioeconomic status, etc.
“The only way we’re going to get through this is to educate people,” he said.
Ben-David had similar sentiments. Ben-David is a zoologist, professor at the University of Wyoming and now the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.
Before that, she was the daughter of farmers in Israel. Her family didn’t have money; she said the first time she tried ice cream was at the age of 10.
Based on her background, Ben-David said she understands firsthand the importance of education, especially as technology continues to advance and certain industries and jobs move toward obsolescence.
“If we want young people to have any future, we have to think five years, 10 years, 20 years forward and make sure they’re prepared,” she said.
Ben-David said Wyoming’s Republican party and their political ideologies seek to emulate the past.
“What I see in Wyoming, they want to keep us back, no education, send them to the coal mines with a shovel,” she said. “It’s all going to be automated. There won’t be any coal miners in five years, and we’re upset they’re losing jobs now. It’s nothing to do with politics. We need to make sure people are ready.”
Though Wyoming is an almost guaranteed red state, Ben-David told voters in Torrington she’s spoken with supporters of President Donald Trump around the state who “like what she has to say” and take her literature to distribute to community members.
“This is a different election year,” she said.
McCreery said he supports Ben-David because he is concerned about the environment, and of course, she is running as a scientist looking to combat climate change. He referenced wildfires burning in California and in nearby Laramie where the Mullen fire continues to cause damage.
“We used to not have all of this smoke growing up,” he said. “A couple of times maybe, but this is unbelievable.”
Ben-David will continue to campaign while teaching a class at UW until the general election, Nov. 3.