Dripping Springs resident and senate candidate Steven Kling met with the Young Democrats club Friday morning, discussing current issues important to him as well as the political process at large. He emphasized the responsibility of students to become informed citizens who care about the decisions made by those in office, since it will affect the students and their families.

“It’s up to you to be a citizen and not a subject,” Kling said.

A fifth-generation Texan, Kling grew up in San Angelo and attended Central High School before graduating from Texas A&M University. Kling joined the Army Reserve later in life at the age of 32 and went on to serve two combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He received the Bronze Star, the Combat Action Badge and the Joint Services Commendation Medal, leaving the reserve after 11 years in 2015.

“I put my life on the line to protect people’s right to [speak their mind and protest],” Kling said in reference to hot button issues like athletes kneeling during the national anthem.

He went on to encourage students to look past smaller issues that may be blown out of proportion for political reasons and focus on those that truly affect all families. He explained how it is easier to focus on oversimplified topics than the complicated elements of government that ultimately have a greater effect on the lives of citizens.

“They’re counting on people not digging for the truth,” Kling said.

After a short Q&A with students and sponsor John Adams, Kling left the students with his favorite Molly Ivins quote:

“I prefer a person who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves in the flag.”

Both the Young Democrats and Young Republicans will be featured in the March 1 issue of the MyDSHS Newspaper.