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A Bonne Terre area man has announced he will be running for the position of St. Francois County Clerk next year. Long-time county clerk, Mark Hedrick, recently announced that he intends to retire from the job he’s held for 16 years at the end of this term on Dec. 31, 2018.

Andrew Young, a Democrat, 24, will be running against Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, who will be retiring from the Missouri House due to term limits — just in time to run for county clerk next November.

“I mainly grew up in Desloge, but my family and I moved to Bonne Terre in 2010,” Young said. “My parents built a house in Big River Hills. It’s really nice in Bonne Terre and I love the history of the town.

On May 21, 2010 — at the age of 16 and just five days before the end of his sophomore year — Young’s life was unexpectedly changed forever. Driving to school, he crossed U.S. 67 and was T-boned by a semi. Miraculously, not only did Young live, but he surprised his doctors when they discovered he was still able to walk.

Physically disabled and walking with a cane, Young went on to graduate from North County High School in 2012. He continued his studies at Mineral Area College and then transferred to Webster University where he intends to graduate in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

“During my final semester coming up I will be interning at the capitol in Jeff City. I’ll be working with politicians, drafting bills and doing legislative research and a whole bunch of other things.”

Asked why he’s decided to run for county clerk, Young said, “I thought about it for several years and I’ve known that Mark Hedrick was in there. He’s a really nice guy and I never wanted to run against him because he was doing a great job. Whenever I learned that he wasn’t going to be running, I thought this was the time for me to be able to get out there and push for what I wanted to do. 

“I’ve always thought if somebody in that position were of a younger age, that could be a greater outreach to the younger generation and possibly improve voter turnout. If I were to be elected, that would be my number one goal. I received a lot of help and support during my recovery. I believe this would be a great way for me to pay back to the community because I will be able to serve everyone and not just a select few.”

As far as qualifications for the job, Young said, “I restarted student government at MAC after it had kind of dropped off. I pestered the dean of students every week for several months until they were like, ‘OK, we’ll get it going.’ I’ve also worked a lot with student government at Webster University and served as an advocate for the L.I.F.E. Center for Independent Living in Farmington dealing with disability issues and disability rights.”

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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