The Rapidian

Watch party turns into political announcements

Two local members from Oprah Winfrey's 60 minutes political focus group announce they are running for political office.
People gathered at the Knickerbocker Brewery to watch '60 minutes'

People gathered at the Knickerbocker Brewery to watch '60 minutes' /John Rothwell

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Lauren Taylor, in blue, announcing that she would be running for Michigan's State Representative for the 86th district.

Lauren Taylor, in blue, announcing that she would be running for Michigan's State Representative for the 86th district. /John Rothwell

 Wesley Watson announcing that he had put his name in to be appointed to a vacant seat on the Forest Hills school board

Wesley Watson announcing that he had put his name in to be appointed to a vacant seat on the Forest Hills school board /John Rothwell

CBS ‘60 Minutes’ and host Oprah Winfrey brought together fourteen Grand Rapids area residents with a spectrum of political beliefs for a focus group for two sessions. Eight of the fourteen gathered on February 18, 2018 at the Knickerbocker New Holland Brewing to watch the airing of the second follow up report. Invited family and friends along with the participants were greeted with the announcement that two of members are planning to run for public office.

Lauren Taylor announced she would be running for Michigan's State Representative for the 86th district.

Wesley Watson announced that he had put his name in to be appointed to a vacant seat on the Forest Hills school board. Watson also announced that he would be running for the seat in the general 2018 election.

Taylor, a political newcomer whose campaign slogan is “You Matter” was inspired to run for public office as a result of being part of Oprah’s group.

“I think right now it is a matter of do or die,” Taylor said. “A lot of us have been out trying to make a difference and we're still seeing our country crumble and fall apart at the national level.”

Believing that politics should be about public service and not defeating the enemy, Taylor believes that every person deserves an opportunity for a high quality of life.

“That comes the best education, good health and high paying jobs,” said Taylor.

Watson, who had thoughts of running for public office before being part of the group, felt that he was really pushed by the group. Making his decision as a man of color to run for a position in a school district that has recently been plagued with racial tensions was a comfortable one.

“We need to be a community of empowerment,” Watson said. “Empowering each other no matter what your race, color, or creed is.”

Even with the extreme political differences, fellow members of the group applauded both Taylor’s and Watson’s decision to run.

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