CLARKSVILLE — Hunter Evans has an ambitious goal: turn a red region blue.
Evans has just been appointed chair of the Red River County Democratic Party. Of his many goals, the first is to mobilize voters who traditionally sit on the political sidelines.
“More than half of the people here do not vote. There are, I believe, more than 1,400 residents in Red River County that are eligible to register to vote, but have not registered. And that would give us more than enough votes,” he said.
Evans, a Texas native, spent most of his life in Deport. Witnessing the needs in the community has motivated him to take action, he said.
“I got interested in politics in 2016. I wanted to help my community,” Evans said. “Just seeing the needs of my people, … it’s one thing if it’s just potholes, but there’s people without electricity, there’s people without running water, there’s people with just basic needs. And that’s what got me excited about running and helping people and especially on a local level.”
His party is supporting several Democrats who will challenge incumbent Republicans in elections this year — a challenge, considering the area’s red roots. But Evans doesn’t see Democrats as a minority; he sees them as people who don’t vote. The party is planning an aggressive boots-on-the-ground approach to reach those unregistered voters, Evans said.
“Canvassing and knocking on doors — I plan on going to city council meetings in all of the cities that are in Red River County, including Deport,” he said. “Speaking out to county commissioners, seeing what the needs are, coming up with a plan on how to fix our current problems.”
Those problems include everything from healthcare to education to agriculture and farmer’s rights, he said. But one that Evans has noted in particular: raising minimum wage.
“Solely because $7.25 is not enough for people to live on,” he said.
Evans plans to increase Red River County party numbers by 10%. The biggest challenge that he will face is resourcing, he said.
“I think the state needs to step up, the state Democratic party, and fund resources for young people like me to become involved. Because currently, they’re not funding anything. At least, not here in Red River County,” he said.
Hunter Evans attended Prairiland and was homeschooled through high school. He is also a field director for Audrey Spanko’s campaign, one of the Democrat Senate candidates. His career goals include becoming a peer support specialist and working in the mental health services.
More than anything, he wants voters to know the party is diverse and accepting.
“We’re running a diverse party that welcomes anyone, regardless of age or gender or sexual orientation,” he said.