Pictured from left to right: Michaela Fitzgerald, RHS; Aimee Berger-Girvalo, candidate for State Representative; Rose Cioffi, Ossining High School; Ben Brewster, RHS; Ramiro Davila, RHS; Katherine Smalley, recent graduate of Binghamton University; and Emma Langis, RHS. Missing from the photo are RHS students Jack Sjoberg and Sam Sulzinsky.
The opportunity to work on a political campaign is a dream of aspiring public servants, lawyers, advocates and many others who are passionate to make a positive difference in the world. It leads to a deeper understanding of the processes of democracy. It provides hands on experience with organizing, use of data, voter outreach, and communications. Not to mention the chance to view the ups and downs as well as the demanding life and work schedule of candidates.
Eight high school and college students are part of the team for Aimee Berger-Girvalo who is running for State Representative from the 111thdistrict on November 6. These young women and men are knocking on doors, calling voters, delivering signs, attending the League of Women Voters’ debate, sitting in on campaign team and Democratic Town Committee meetings, and attending local community and political events.
Volunteer work has perks beyond pizza, as they’ve had a chance to meet First Selectman Rudy Marconi, Congressman Jim Himes, and Senator Chris Murphy. On Election Day, November 6, they will be out in the community and at district polling locations, working with Aimee Berger-Girvalo to reach and persuade last minute voters.
“Beyond merely working for my election, I intend for this experience in civic activism to foster a lifelong commitment to our democracy and to voting among our young volunteers and their peers. I am so impressed by these students’ smarts, curiosity, energy, and mature awareness,” commented Aimee Berger-Girvalo. “Some of my “youth squad” of volunteers are not yet old enough to vote, but they are informed, engaged and inspiring others.”
Nationally, the number of Millennial eligible voters now nearly equals that of Baby Boomers, (Pew Research Center, 2018), yet the percentage of Millennials that actually vote is 23 points lower than that of Boomers (in the 2016 Presidential election 69% of eligible Baby Boomers voted, versus 46% of eligible Millennials). For local and State elections, the disparity is even greater.
Berger-Girvalo concluded, “These young people want a say in the future of Connecticut. They want good jobs, safe communities, modern transportation, gender equality and social justice. They want Hartford to work better for their future. They know this election is vital and that now is the time to be involved. I am deeply gratified that they feel they have learned from me through this experience. I have definitely learned from them and I am grateful for their support and assistance.”