Political activists spark progress through Ben Rose campaign

In the media, at school, or even at home, news of the general election is impossible to avoid. But as the ultimate Clinton-Trump throwdown draws closer, politicians with lower profiles are also preparing for November 8th.

One of them is Ben Rose, Democratic nominee for State Representative in District 134, which includes West University and Bellaire. For students looking to get involved in local politics, Rose’s campaign gives them a place to start.

Junior Katie Smith started interning for the campaign this summer when she returned from a dance program in San Francisco and realized that she had extra time. After hearing from the Young Liberals Organization (YLO) that the Rose campaign was looking for volunteers, Smith decided to get involved.

“I am really passionate about politics,” Smith said. “While I can’t vote, I want to be involved in the political process and change Texas’ policies for the better.”

Smith is not the only student working on the campaign. Sophomore Lincoln Dow is also an intern for the campaign, and YLO members like Sophomores Clara Brotzen-Smith and Sebastian Varma have block-walked and manned phone banks for the candidate. Rose says the contributions of young volunteers cannot be understated.

“Student volunteers are the backbone of any campaign for the people in the community,” Rose said. “Katie, Lincoln and all the other students here who have worked with us have done the most excellent job in our campaign and we are so thankful and honored to have had them.”

This is the first time Rose has ever run for office. His opponent is incumbent Sarah Davis, a Republican who has served three terms in the Texas House of Representatives. Volunteers of both campaigns block walk in neighborhoods in the district and call potential voters to talk to them about their candidates.

When Brotzen-Smith went door-to-door for the Rose campaign, few people answered, and even fewer were interested in what she had to say. Still, the conversations that she had with voters made the whole process worth it.

“Of the people who answered the door, there were a decent number ready to listen and to take some pamphlets,” Brotzen-Smith said. “There were also many people who didn’t understand what a state representative does, so I got to explain the importance of that role. Hopefully some of the people I talked to will do more research about the down-ballot candidates running in their districts.”

Volunteers also attended special events with the candidate. For Dow, marching in the Houston Pride Parade has been the high point of his time with the Rose campaign. As for Smith, meeting influential Houstonians has been a rewarding perk. 

“Once we were working at a fundraiser at former mayor Annise Parker’s house, and we got to meet her,” Smith said. “That was probably the coolest experience I’ve had with the campaign so far.”

In early October, Rose spoke at a YLO meeting about the policies he would like to advance if elected to the House of Representatives. When he offered opportunities for more volunteers, every student in the meeting signed up. 

The Review Online has reached out to Young Conservatives Club and other students about Republican campaigns they are supporting and is currently awaiting response. Stay tuned for more information about student political volunteers.