The University of Connecticut College Democrats will be focusing much of their efforts this semester on the upcoming midterm elections, with voter turnout drives and other events planned.
The club will be endorsing Democratic nominee Ned Lamont for governor, according to President Steph Goebel. They will be working with members of Lamont’s campaign to encourage voter turnout in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
Lamont’s student organizing director, Lucas Bladen, plans to collaborate with Goebel through door-knocking, phone banking and raising awareness for the campaign.
“The College Democrats have been a really useful resource in terms of recruiting volunteers, helping us spread our message to students across campus and building coalitions with other student groups,” Bladen said. “Any campaign is built by volunteer supporters and the College Democrats are very engaged students. They pretty much form the core of what we’re trying to do here.”
“(I will be) working to lead outreach to and mobilize students at university campuses around the state. Given that UConn is our state’s flagship public college, I would like that to emanate out from here and we’re going to have UConn lead the charge,” Bladen said. “We’re also going to be leading a field program and get out the vote (GOTV) efforts on campus. That’s going to entail going door-to-door on campus or doing phone banks that are held by and for students.”
Bladen said he decided to work for Ned Lamont’s campaign because he believes Lamont will support and listen to college students.
“I believe young people have a fresh perspective that needs to be brought to the table and I think the best way to make sure issues (that concern students) are at the forefront of the discussion is to show a wider audience that we’re engaged and paying attention,” Bladen said. “If we don’t show up to do this work, our leaders aren’t going to be out here focusing on the issues that affect us the most.”
In addition to working with Bladen and Lamont’s team, the College Democrats will also be working with the Mansfield Democratic Town Council to get out the college vote.
“We think nothing is more important than ensuring that students vote in elections, particularly students that are frequently disenfranchised due to their identity,” Goebel said. “We always do a coordinated campaign with everyone running in the district that UConn is in, including Sen. Chris Murphy, Congressman Joe Courtney, State Sen. Mae Flexer and State Rep. Gregg Haddad, among others.”
Goebel said one of the club’s largest goals for the semester is to work towards electing Democrats to the House, Senate and Connecticut General Assembly.
“It’s a huge goal of ours to ensure that these people get elected and combat the actions of this administration that are not the will of the people,” Goebel said.
Aside from campaigning for the upcoming elections, Goebel said the College Democrats are hoping to diversify their club and bring in more voices to contribute to their discussions.
“We also hope that we’re able to open politics up to everyone. Frequently, people get intimidated because they aren’t political junkies, but it’s our belief that this is your democracy too, no matter how much you know or don’t know,” Goebel said. “Our meetings frequently cover the current events of the week and anyone is welcome to stop by and learn.”
Gabriella Debenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.