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State Rep. Stacy Oakes talks politics with students

Morgan Taylor | Assistant Photo Editor Students, faculty, and members of the College Democrats group gather for a group picture with state representative Stacy Irwin Oakes after she spoke on overcoming adversity in the Park Library Auditorium on Friday afternoon.

Central Michigan University students got a glimpse of local government when State Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes D-Saginaw came to campus to speak about her career.

Oakes, who has held many different jobs during her life including public school teacher, corrections officer and assistant attorney general, now serves in her second term as a state representative for the 95th house district – the Saginaw area.

Oakes shared details of her professional and personal life, as well as her current run for state Senate, in a talk at the Charles V. Park Library Auditorium on Friday.

“I was born the youngest girl of 13 kids, so I guess you could say I was born an advocate, because you had to speak up if you wanted to be heard in my house,” Oakes said.

Oakes stressed the importance of giving back to the community and trying to help everyone equally. She said sometimes she struggles holding a job that is so much in the public eye.

“I don’t represent the people based on color of skin,” she said. “(The 95th) is not a majority, minority district. I have to remind people I won the election based on the will of the people I was elected to show I was interested in the entire district.”

Taylor Gehrcke, president of CMU’s College Democrats, said the group brought Oakes to campus to hear her stance on the upcoming elections.

“It’s all about bringing big name people to campus and finding out what we’re about and why we do what we do,” he said.

Howard City sophomore Joe Frey said Oakes did a great job explaining the importance of being fair in life.

“It was awesome,” he said. “She pointed out that you always need to look on both sides of the aisle. No matter what, you’re always going to have people who didn’t vote for you, but you still need to look out for them.”