Hamline gets political
Students take action on and off campus.
February 17, 2017
Filed under News
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Seniors Billy Grant and Chad Hermes described their experiences working on campaigns for two different political candidates as well as their experience in political discussions on Hamline.
Grant is the chief strategist representative for republican Jake Blum, the current representative of District 42, North Dakota. Hermes is the campaign manager for A.K. Hassan, campaigning for the Minneapolis Park Board’s third District.
Grant was responsible for advising Blum’s campaign messages and said that he focused on Blum as an “outsider candidate” who rejected “political games” as well as addressing relevant voter concerns such as college tuition and bringing services like Uber to the Grand Forks area.
Hermes described his duties as campaign manager, including scheduling the candidate’s time effectively. He’s responsible for tasks such as making sure that attending events does not take time away from making phone calls and getting delegates. However, this was not the only kind of duty he was charged with.
“I write speeches, I do social media posts, I write emails,” Hermes said. “It’s kind of whatever the campaign needs.”
Grant compared the Hamline campus briefly to the University of North Dakota, which he attended before Hamline alongside many of those he worked with campaigning.
“[Hamline’s campus is involved in political discussions] more so than other schools, which is promising to see,” he said.
Grant described being active in political discussion on the Hamline campus, both in and out of classes.
“Opportunities seem a lot more accessible [here],” Grant said. He listed some of the many local organizations or local chapters of organizations, including MPIRG, Young Americans for Liberty and the Minnesota College Republicans, of which Grant is the Executive Director.
Of the opportunities to get involved in the political process, Grant also mentioned the range in ways that students tended to engage.
“There are people who get involved based on a particular candidate, a particular party, or just one specific issue or topic,” he said. “It’s equally important that you have people involved on [each] level.”
Grant also described Hamline’s campus as “open minded,” noting that, as a Republican, he tended to be a minority in his classes.
“Even if people disagree, they’re open to conversation, willing to engage,” he said. He added “[The opportunity for conversation] makes me much more articulate on what I believe.”
Chad Hermes, campaign manager for Hassan, added that there are opportunities on the Hamline campus for many different kinds of political engagement.
“I’m kind of on the liberal side [and] obviously Hamline is a pretty liberal campus,” Hermes said, “[but] we’ve got the whole political spectrum pretty well covered.”
Hermes also listed the same organizations as Grant (as well as adding the Minnesota College Democrats) as resources accessible to students on campus, saying, “any student can get involved [with the political process].”
He claimed that the experience was stressful, but not unlike any of the other work that he had done with regards to politics.
“[It helps that] I know more or less what I’m doing [already],” he said.
Grant and Hermes both expressed support for students who have an interest in any political issue.
“It’s easy to get your foot in the door and start making change[s],” Hermes said. “[You] can start working on it immediately because there are resources in the twin cities for that to happen.”
Grant also had words for interested students.
“Just show up, have conversations, ask questions,” Grant said. “Everyone starts somewhere. Just get engaged and have fun with it.”