As the presidential election looms closer, many Americans are also looking at the politics closer to home in city and statewide elections. In Collegedale, the ballots include candidates running for Board of Commissioners positions as well as Tennessee and federal House and Senate seats. A few students from Southern Adventist University are actively involved in working in politics, on both the city and state level.
Southern student Xavier Snydera is currently working on the campaign for Marquita Bradshaw, a Democratic candidate running for a U.S. Senate seat to replace retiring Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander. Bradshaw is running against Bill Haggerty, a Donald Trump-endorsed candidate. On her official campaign website, Bradshaw said she is “…a Tennessee native; a Memphian who has extensive experience in the environmental justice movement and an advocate for human rights.”
“I started working with the Marquita Bradshaw campaign almost as soon as they opened an office here in Chattanooga,” Snyder said.. “I’ve volunteered and interned with political campaigns every year for the past five years, so getting into everything was fairly easy.”
Snyder states that he has various responsibilities for the campaign, including door-to-door canvassing, text banking and phone banking.
“Because of my experience, my responsibilities have expanded to include leading out canvassing and phone banking teams, and also in volunteer recruitment,.” Snyder said.
Volunteering is one of the best ways to get involved in politics, especially for students looking for experience. Synder said that he was taken aback with just how much information candidates have on potential voters.
“If you’re a registered voter, campaigns on both sides likely have your phone number, address and sometimes know your political affiliation,” Snyder said.
He said analytics and information regarding voting campaigns have been highly developed and refined, and the various campaigns seem to utilize this information differently.
David Runnels, a senior archeology and history major, is also working in local Collegedale politics. He is currently working on the campaign for Independent candidate Alexander Brown, who is running for the Collegedale Commission. Runnels said he was able to get into working for Brown through a department-wide notification from Dr. Diller, dean of the History and Political Science Department.
“After meeting with him [Brown],” Runnels said. “He took me on, and I’ve been getting valuable experience ever since.”
Runnels stated that his main responsibilities are door-to-door campaigning, taking photos at campaign events, and helping to run the official campaign website.
“This position has really helped me understand the ins and outs of local politics,”
he Runnels said. “Many people focus on national politics, and, while that’s very important, it’s also important to pay attention to local politics and policies that are being implemented at that level, as they can have a large impact on our lives.”State and Federal elections are taking place on Nov 3, and students can check their voter registration status on Vote.org.