They have campaigned for other candidates, helped fellow students register to vote, and most recently, knocked on doors in their respective districts to secure the vote for their own political campaigns. Junior history major Jackson Carter, of Livingston, was elected to the position as Overton County commissioner. Senior business major Jordan Iwanyszyn narrowly lost his race for Putnam County School Board by 33 votes.
“I have always enjoyed learning about politics and helping political parties,” Carter said. “So when I finally became old enough to run in an election, I decided to go ahead and put my name in the arena.”
Carter’s self-described grassroots campaign incorporated low budget means to attract voters, including postcards and a Facebook page for the younger demographic. Carter beat out two incumbents for the third county commissioner seat. One incumbent had recently moved to the district while the other had served for 30 years.
“A lot of the people in Overton County were tired of the same people running the businesses,” Carter said. “They did not see much accomplished, so they voted in a new face.”
As one of three commissioners for Overton County, Carter will vote monthly on spending and policies. He will also serve on various committees and work with the mayor on increasing jobs in the county, which is a top priority for Carter.
“We are trying to expand the tax base by bringing more jobs into the county,” Carter said. “Right now a lot of residents are going outside the county to work, and we want to change that.”
If you went to bed early on election night, you may have fallen asleep thinking Iwanyszyn was sure to win his seat on the Putnam County School Board.
“I was actually up by 90 percent on election day,” Iwanyszyn said. “Unfortunately, early voting numbers brought me down.”
Iwanyszyn remains optimistic about his first run for public office, which concluded with a mere three percent margin in favor of his opponent. An active member of SGA and College Republicans president, Iwanyszyn is also the county republican vicechairman and the candidate recruitment chairman.
“Our elders are looking back to us to see any hint of if we are ready to step forward and take up the responsibility of leadership,” Iwanyszyn said. “Even though I didn’t win, I wanted to show symbolically that young people are ready to take up the reigns.”
Iwanyszyn’s platform included merits of early childhood reading, fitness education, and a push for more social studies.
“As we become a more globalized society, we need students to know more about American History and geography,” Iwanyszyn said.
Iwanyszyn cited his faith as a motivator for public service, but he also suggested other ways students can get involved politically.
“Stay informed,” Iwanyszyn said. “You can blog, call into radio shows, or, since this is an election year, find a candidate you like and support them through volunteering time at a phone bank or fund raising.”
For more information about political involvement, contact the College Republicans or College Democrats on campus.