Politically active Colonials

Sinead Casey

Media Credit: Ashley Lucas
Sinead Casey

Year: Senior

Major: Political communication

Hometown: Blauvelt, N.Y.

Position: Executive director of the D.C. Federation of College Republicans, president of GW College Republicans

Favorite debate moment: When Mitt Romney said during the Denver debate that “Republicans and Democrats do both love America.” I do think Obama has done some good things, not just enough of the right things, and Romney showed that he had a shot but wasn’t able to get it done right.

Best part of job: When I walked into the Virginia headquarters for the first time and saw so many parts of the American demographic coming together to get the same person elected. That was really profound.

Sinead Casey said when she organizes campaign trips for hundreds of College Republicans in the D.C. area, she thinks about how they will impact each student’s long term involvement in politics.

She said her main concern this election is getting students out to vote and “being politically active no matter which side you vote for.”

As executive director of the D.C. Federation of College Republicans, Casey leads the handful of College Republican chapters in the District – some of the most active in the nation.

“Kids who come to the D.C. schools come here because they want to be stakeholders in the trajectory of the party and active in politics for a very long time,” Casey said.

She also leads the GW College Republicans, where she has taken up the spirit of bipartisanship by coordinating events with the College Democrats.

The groups held debates with members from both groups and will hold the first joint Election Day watch party.

“They could pack the Marvin Center without us, but by sharing a forum to discuss our beliefs and why we support our candidates, it exemplifies bipartisanship and is beneficial to members of the GW community,” Casey said.

Written by Allison Kowalski

Nick Gumas

Media Credit: Jordan Emont | Photo Editor
Nick Gumas

Year: Sophomore

Majors: Political science and political communication

Hometown: New York City

Position: Communications intern at the Human Rights Campaign

Favorite debate moment: When debate moderator Candy Crowley fact-checked Mitt Romney about the president’s response to Libya and we had Republicans complaining that a journalist reported the truth

Best part of job: Grabbing coffee and chatting with the Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin. It was absolutely surreal to be that close to someone so powerful and amazing.

After President Barack Obama declared his support of same-sex marriage this summer, sophomore Nick Gumas said he wanted to keep the issue in the election spotlight.

Gumas has spent the fall interning at the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to LGBT issues, where he researches and blogs about how politics impact LGBT populations.

“It puts LGBT issues at the forefront of my mind, and by doing so, I am continuing to learn so much about the community,” Gumas, who is also president of GW’s Allied in Pride, said.

One of the nonprofit’s biggest efforts this election season has been creating scorecards that rank elected officials on their votes related to LGBT equality. Gumas said he has seen several senators and representatives with high marks tweeting their scores to show their constituents they care about LGBT issues.

Gumas said his progressive political stance also focuses on other issues, including women’s reproductive health, environmental protection, labor rights and economic inequality.

“I want to fix the social and economic discrimination that so many of us continue to face,” Gumas said.

Written by Amulya Shankar

Peyton Zere

Media Credit: Ashley Lucas
Peyton Zere

Year: Sophomore

Major: Political Science

Hometown: Port Jefferson, N.Y.

Position: Research intern at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s political action committee

Favorite debate moment: Mitt Romney’s mention of Big Bird, because I love those off-kilter moments where you can see their personality coming through

Best part of job: Fact-checking candidates on their voting records

Before the GOP’s largest funding arm airs its political advertisements, a research team that includes sophomore Peyton Zere is charged with fact-checking the claims.

Zere, a research assistant for the National Republican Congressional Committee’s political action committee, has helped create TV and radio ads for GOP members nationwide in a presidential election in which spending has reached unprecedented levels.

Despite PACs’ reputation for having unlimited cashflow and highly charged advertising, Zere said all ad content is under strict regulations.

“I do a lot of research to make sure they frame what they want to say to make it effective but also accurate,” Zere said. “Although they can frame it to favor their candidate over the other, it is factual data.”

Over the last few months, he has tracked voting records and researched the voting records of congressional candidates to use in advertisements.

He said watching how the campaign works, and particularly tracking the money spent in the nation’s closest races “from the inside,” has been exhilarating.

Before his internship, Zere said he thought being a political science major meant running for office or becoming a professor. He said it has solidified his interest in the field of politics outside governing or teaching.

“The classroom only takes you so far,” Zere said. “To know the history and how government functions is very important, but to see it in real time and see what options there are career-wise is the most important part to me.”

Written by Chloe Sorvino

Eric Wolfert

Media Credit: Jordan Emont
Eric Wolfert

Year: Freshman

Major: Undecided

Hometown: Scarsdale, N.Y.

Position: Intern at Marylanders for Marriage Equality

Favorite debate moment: I liked when they were sparring over Romney’s tax plan during the first debate. Economists have shown that the plan is impossible. You can’t cut taxes for the rich and spend more money while keeping taxes the same for the middle class.

Best part of job: I spoke with a woman who said she was so inspired to see young adults working and campaigning for what she believed to be an incredibly important issue. She was so thrilled, happy and inspired to speak to me and see students so involved in an issue she thought was so important.

When students flood Gelman Library to catch up on schoolwork, freshman Eric Wolfert hits the pavement, hopping on the Metro to Maryland to persuade voters to support the state’s referendum on same-sex marriage.

As an intern for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, Wolfert canvasses communities like Silver Springs, Md. and Glenmont, Md. to collect support for ballot question 6, which could pave the way for Maryland to become the seventh state to recognize same-sex marriage. He added that the initiative has “a really good shot” in the state.

During the week, in between classes, Wolfert props open the Maryland phone book and makes dozens of phone calls to prospective voters.

Wolfert said his favorite part of the job is hearing strangers’ stories, which motivates him to keep knocking on doors.

“It’s really inspiring. These are people I will never see again, but it’s really something to meet people who believe we can win this battle,” Wolfert said. “It feels good to be working on something that means so much to so many people,” Wolfert said.

Written by Chris Hebdon

Amanda Robbins

Media Credit: Ashley Lucas
Amanda Robbins

Year: Freshman

Major: Political science

Hometown: Vero Beach, Fla.

Position: Director of political affairs for GW for Romney

Favorite debate moment: When Mitt Romney called the nation’s spending “frankly not moral” because we can’t continue on this path of spending without putting an end to it somehow

Best part of job: Going door-to-door and seeing how this economy has affected so many people who are looking forward to a brighter future

Amanda Robbins knows that as a campus conservative, she is in the minority.

She said being forced to defend her views to her liberal peers has forced her to become “really solid” in her beliefs.

“It’s really interesting, but I kind of like it, because in a sense, it makes me different from anyone else,” Robbins said.

Emotions have run high on campus this election season, she said. Robbins said she noticed that posters she put up to promote the conservative documentary “2016: Obama’s America” were torn down. She said the incident demonstrated students’ lack of respect for opposing political views.

“There’s kind of a double standard, because I don’t go ripping down an Obama poster,” Robbins said.

Still, Robbins said she typically enjoys being challenged while debating other students in her politics and values living and learning community.

She entered the campus political sphere as soon as she arrived on campus, earning a position as political affairs director for GW for Romney. Robbins also serves as a freshman representative for GW’s chapter of the right-learning Young America’s Foundation.

She said her ties to the Republican party lie within her Christian faith.

“As a Christian, I’m more drawn to the Republican party, being pro-life, believing in the sanctity of life and also the whole economics of it. I believe small government works better for the private sector,” Robbins said.

Written by Allison Kowalski

Spencer Dixon

Media Credit: Jordan Emont
Spencer Dixon

Year: Senior

Major: Political science, minor in economics

Hometown: Severna Park, Md.

Position: Organizing fellow at Obama for America Virginia

Favorite debate moment: “Horses and bayonets… [Romney] just doesn’t really seem to have a full grasp of what it means to run a modern military.”

best part of job: Meeting President Barack Obama and shaking his hand at a rally in Woodbridge, Va.

When Spencer Dixon’s mom struggled with health problems, he said he saw the need for health care reform firsthand.

As a volunteer for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, Dixon shares his family’s experience with hundreds of voters over the phone.

Besides the Affordable Care Act, he said he also talks up student loan and education reform that has taken place over the last four years – issues he hopes will encourage people to think long-term about the direction of the U.S.

“All that, it’s at stake,” Dixon, who is also president of the College Democrats, said.

During rounds of evening calls to households across the country, Dixon said he stresses the candidate’s different philosophies, particularly about fiscal policy, because the debates have already drawn stark contrasts between both candidates’ political personalities.

The hundreds of calls gave him fresh perspectives, he said, adding that realizing the vast differences helped him bring people together for his cause.

“I really get to have the opportunity to bridge those, and have a common cause and belief in reelecting the president.”

Dixon has worked on a handful of smaller-scale campaigns with the CDs. This will be the first presidential race he votes in, and he called his decision to help Obama a “no brainer.” He has also worked on a handful of smaller-scale campaigns with the CDs.

Written by Sarah Margolis


This article was updated Nov. 8, 2012 to reflect the following:

The Hatchet incorrectly referred to Sinead Casey as the chair of the D.C. Federation of College Republicans. In fact, she serves as executive director.

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