Towson student takes on Congress
Most students on a Friday night will go out to a bar, play video games, relax or just sleep. On his Friday nights, Matt Gould runs a congressional campaign. Gould, a senior political science major, is the campaign manager for Nancy Jacobs, a Republican running for Congress in Maryland’s second district, representing parts of Baltimore County.
Gould said he was involved in local campaigns in his home state of New Jersey and fell in love with the process.
“I was the chairman of the Maryland Federation of College Republicans, and we had our annual convention in the spring at Towson,” he said. “Nancy came to speak [and] she had just won the primary two days before. Her campaign manager at the time was getting married, and had two kids, and she needed a new manager, so she approached me about it.”
As a 22-year-old, Gould said there was apprehension when he was first hired to the campaign by outsiders.
“There was some skepticism,” he said. “I was so young, and people were saying, ‘Is this real, is he really running your campaign?’”
Gould, however, has done more than enough to dispel these concerns. As manager, he balances the campaign’s budget, helps prepare Jacobs for debates, and assists her in writing speeches for public appearances.
With only two weeks left until the election Nov. 6, Gould said his job has changed compared to what it was over the summer.
“We went from mainly foundation laying, and making sure we had donors and infrastructure in place so we could have a smooth-running last 14 days,” he said. “At this point, we are mainly focusing on fundraising because we are running against a tenured congressman. We are making phone calls, and encouraging people to get out and vote.”
Jacobs, who is attempting to take down the incumbent Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger, who has been in Congress since 2003. Jacobs’ major plank is creating more jobs for Marylanders, Gould said.
“She is running on a campaign focused on getting people back to work though tax cuts and decreasing the deficit that we’ve accrued,” he said. “There’s 200,000 people out of work in Maryland, and that’s unacceptable.”
On Jacob’s campaign website, she said she supports a plan to streamline the tax code and lower the tax rate for businesses and individuals to no more than 25 percent, and she would like to give tax breaks to new small businesses.
Gould said his toughest challenge has been balancing his last few classes as a “super senior,” with his responsibilities on the campaign. He said he hopes to enter the public policy arena.
“One morning I’ll want to stay on the political side and run for office, and then some days I’ll want to work on the public policy side. You see a lot of people wear off after running a few campaigns and get pessimistic about politics,” he said. “I would like to stay on the campaign for a while. There is a gubernatorial race in New Jersey and state legislation elections where I started at and I’d like to go back home.”