by Bronwen Raff
President of Tufts Democrats
As Tufts’ largest political organization, the Tufts Democrats has 75 active members, including 27 interns on the Elizabeth Warren campaign, 13 executive board members, and 4 partner organizations (the Emerging Black Leaders, the Tufts Institute of Political Citizenship, the LGBT Center, and Tufts Votes). This active involvement has allowed us to accomplish a great deal both on and off campus.
On campus, we’ve held voter registration drives three times a week this semester and registered 1,000 students—roughly 30% of the eligible student voters—by the October 17 deadline. We also hosted four Presidential Debate Watch Parties, four Senate Debate Watch Parties for Elizabeth Warren, and are currently assisting in the organization of an “Election Night Extravaganza” hosted by the ExCollege.
The size and strength of the Tufts Democrats has also allowed us to help in campaigns locally, statewide, and nationally. Our members have been working diligently on campaigns for President Barack Obama, Massachusetts Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren, New Hampshire Congressional Candidate Annie Kuster, Massachusetts Congressional Candidate Joe Kennedy, and the Question 4 “Invest in Somerville” campaign to increase affordable housing and public parks.
We’ve been particularly engaged in the Elizabeth Warren campaign with 32 Tufts students attending a recent rally at Boston University, 12 who trekked to Lowell for her second Senatorial Debate, 15 students that attended an environmental justice event for Warren at Soundbites hosted by Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and an 8 person delegate that attended a rally with Zach Braff at Northeastern last weekend.
Sophomore Michael Maskin attended the debate in Lowell and said, “The energy in the auditorium was thrilling. I feel like a part of something bigger than myself in this election and the debate was a great way to see this first hand.”
Vanessa Vecchiarello, a sophomore who attended an environmental justice event stated, “It is clear that the stakes in the Massachusetts senate election are high and we’re doing all we can on and off campus to ensure a win for Warren. These rallies are a great way to see her in action.” In addition to these rallies, the Tufts Democrats and Tufts for Warren students have dedicated more than 500 hours for her campaign between phonebanks, visibility efforts, and canvassing events around the state.
In late September, a Tufts delegation of 15 students headed south to campaign for candidates Elizabeth Warren and Joe Kennedy in Taunton, Massachusetts. In conjunction with the College Democrats of Massachusetts, 100 College Democrats from around the state knocked on 6, 000 doors in just two days. The Tufts Democrats have also made campaign stops for Obama in New Hampshire and will be sending students north for the Get Out the Vote weekend, November 3 to 4.
The overwhelming turnout for these events and the enthusiasm going in to the last three weeks of the campaign makes me incredibly proud. We are a campus of engaged, dedicated, and active students who care about the future of our country. Taylor Barnard-Hawkin, president of College Democrats of Massachusetts, said, “The Tufts Democrats have been an integral part of… election efforts. They’ve built a strong presence on campus, worked well with various campaigns, and are a model for other College Democrats around the Commonwealth.”
This election is perhaps the most important election we’ve faced in our lifetime and the Tufts Democrats are stepping up to the plate.
by Bennett Gillogly
President of Tufts Republicans
Following the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s death in 2009, few Massachusetts Republicans wanted to run in the special election for a Senate seat that was predicted to remain in the hands of a Democrat without any real contest. After all, the last time Massachusetts had elected a Republican Senator was in 1972. But, like a lot of people in Massachusetts, State Senator Scott Brown, Tufts alumnus of the class of 1981,was upset with the political maneuvering surrounding the Democratic machine. Brown’s life experiences and political career had taught him that politics is not just about representing one’s party but rather about solving problems and serving the people.
Today, he is one of few bipartisan officials reaching across the aisle to enact change. For example, Senator Brown sided with the Democrats to cast one of the deciding votes in Wall Street reform and to ban the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Although he is a social liberal, he has remained passionately conservative on economic issues.
Committed to understanding and exploring political viewpoints on all sides of the spectrum, Tufts Republicans is devoting the semester to reelecting this true independent. The group is under new management and has just begun to pick up some momentum by turning their passions for Senator Brown’s reelection into action in his campaign.
Tufts Republicans kicked off the year by passing out Scott Brown water bottles to everyone who signed up for the club at the activities fair. The group then held a meeting with Ross Hemminger, the Youth Coordinator and Deputy Coalitions Coordinator for the Scott Brown campaign, in which they gained valuable insights into the role students play during elections. Ellie Monroe, treasurer of the Tufts Republicans, used the meeting with Ross to better understand how funds are used to facilitate the grassroots organizational aspects of the campaign.
In September, the group made a trip down Route 3 to Lowell for the second of Senator Brown’s debates against his opponent Elizabeth Warren, a liberal Harvard law professor. Fifteen members of the club sported Scott Brown t-shirts and participated in politically charged standout before attending the debate amongst a crowd in the thousands. Marshall Hochhauser, a junior, remarked, “I’m from New York and had no idea that Massachusetts politics were so intense. It was a ton of fun to attend the debate and get a feel for everything going on in the state.” Freshman Danielle Feerst summarized the views of all who attended by saying that she was “just excited to be a part of the political process!”
On Wednesday nights, the Tufts Republicans attend College Night at the Campaign. The group meets at the Campus Center and drives to campaign headquarters in South Boston, where they get to experience first hand the nation’s most-watched Senate race. While at headquarters, members meet with various staffers and learn about their roles in the campaign. They also get the opportunity to make phone calls on behalf of the Senator, asking for votes and gathering voter information for the data team to analyze.
For the last two weeks before the campaign, Tufts Republicans will follow up its Wednesday nights with a trip to JP Licks for (free) ice cream. It’s these last few days of the campaign that will be the most crucial to Senator Brown’s reelection and Tufts Republicans will stop at nothing to ensure that it happens.