New campus group Kent State for Biden forms, plans for virtual kickoff event

A new group on campus, Kent State for Biden, will be holding its virtual kickoff event on Saturday at 1 p.m. via Zoom. 

“We are mainly going to have a discussion about how to get involved in the campaign and what the campaign stands for,” Benjamin Mudrak, a senior math major and the current leader of the group, said. “We’re going to have one of Joe Biden’s field organizers in the meeting and then we’re specifically going to have an emphasis on community outreach that can be done at home.” 

Mudrak said the kickoff meeting will also be used to discuss ways to help people who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the attendees’ local communities.  

Kent State for Biden does not plan on meeting in person for the foreseeable future, instead, choosing to plan virtual events for students to attend. If in-person meetings remain impractical, these virtual meetings will continue into the semester. 

“We’re already starting to think about possible events, like possibly group phone banking,” Mudrak said. “So, we all get on the video call, we all phone bank. Because phone banking can be an interesting experience at times and having a bunch of people on a call doing that, I think it’d be a good time.” 

The Kent State College Democrats have historically put most of its focus on helping to elect democrats at the county level. However, it has also partnered with presidential campaign groups to help with elections on a national level. 

“In 2016, with the Hillary group on campus, we sort of worked in tandem with them to also help with the presidential campaign as well,” said Tyler Gardner, a junior communication studies major and president of the College Democrats.

Gardner expects that the College Democrats will work with Kent State for Biden in the fall as well, despite not yet having put out an official statement endorsing Joe Biden. 

“We haven’t put out an official statement, but we are the official arm of the Democratic Party at Kent State, so of course in the general election we are going to be supporting him,” Gardner said. “We didn’t feel any rush to put anything out, especially with not having really talked to our broader membership.” 

On April 12, Kent State for Bernie, a group that was on campus during the spring semester, tweeted that they will not be endorsing Joe Biden. Some members of Kent State for Bernie are also members of the College Democrats. 

“That’s kind of why we haven’t put out an official statement,” Gardner said. “We don’t want to make these decisions, just a couple of us, even if that is the expectation and even if in November we are going to be working to elect Joe Biden and not Donald Trump.” 

Mudrak encourages Sanders supporters who hesitate to vote for Biden to “really take a look at Joe Biden’s policies.” He also encourages Sanders supporters to attend a Kent State for Biden meeting. 

“I think they are very likely to be pleasantly surprised by just how progressive Joe Biden really is,” Mudrak said. “I think there is a lot of misinformation about him not being progressive but he really is the most progressive major party presidential nominee in modern American history.” 

For any questions about the Kent State for Biden group, please reach out to Mudrak at [email protected].

Gina Butkovich is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].