Campaigns come to campus
Graduating senior and 2012-2013 SGA Treasurer Ben Mendelsohn is running for a District 42A seat on the Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee.
In addition to participating in SGA, the Kappa Sigma fraternity and The Big Event, Mendelsohn also acts as Field Director at Elect Cardin, the organization supporting Jon Cardin his bid for Attorney General. Mendelsohn cites that his involvement in programs such as these has allowed him to accumulate valuable experience, as well as a desire to become more involved and invested in local channels.
“The Central Committee is a great way to be involved with the community. Their role, being so local, requires that they are attentive and engaged with the community’s needs and wants,” Mendelsohn said in an email. “I think my experience both on campaigns and student government gives me great insight on how to engage with the community and get them involved in elections, as well as how to work within a complex and large group.”
Mendelsohn said that his solid political temperament, as well as reliability in the face of adversity makes him an important candidate to consider for the position.
“Though it is rarely done, one of the most important roles of the Central Committee is to fill vacancies in elected positions when one comes up. I want people to know that when I think of a good candidate, I think of someone who has a connection to the community, who is able to listen to competing sides, and who is unafraid to stand for democratic principles even in a difficult political climate,” he said. “Outside of that, I plan to work hard and be an involved member.”
Graduating senior Kennard A. Wallace is running for one of two District 25 seats on Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee.
“The role of the Democratic Central Committee is to be the governing body of the Democratic Party for a Legislative District and if elected, my constituents can rest assured knowing that their Representative is not only experienced but also motivated and eager to be a leader to advocate their point of view on the local and state level,” Wallace said in an email.
Wallace, who majored in political science and minored in communication studies, also said that his platform revolves around the “major concerns of [his] neighbors,” and building “an economy that grows from the middle-class outward.”
An active participant in on-campus groups like SGA, in which he served as 2012-2013 Chief of Staff, and the University Residence Government, Wallace credits his experiences at Towson with inspiring him to run for PG County’s Democratic Central Committee. During his time in SGA, Wallace was a member of the committee that developed the bereavement procedure that was approved in February and will take effect Aug. 1, according to a previous Towerlight article.
As a student, Wallace also acted as a resident assistant for three years and represented Towson students on the state level to the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
“As it stands, I am one of the youngest Marylanders running for political office in 2014. Many political leaders wait a few decades to even run for office, however, I owe a great deal of my motivation to run for office to my time at Towson University,” he said. “All of [the aforementioned] leadership positions have primed me for being an advocate for those who do not have a voice at the table.”
Student Tishan Weerasooriya is running for two positions in the primary election on June 24: Democratic Central Committee of Harford County and Board of Education, District D for Harford County.
“The central committee basically preps and trains future candidates on the democratic side, whereas the Board of Education pertains directly to education issues in public schools,” Weerasooriya said.
Weerasooriya is a junior at Towson with a double major in political science and psychology. He used to be a microbiology major, but changed his mind after working in the Department of Justice and developing an interest in politics.
Weerasooriya claims that he is a good candidate for the positions because he already works closely with the Democratic Central Committee. He also worked for the Maryland Senate this past year and served as Chief of Staff of the Young Democrats of Maryland.
“Through these connections, I can help secure more funding and actually have good relations with Annapolis, which is one of the things that our current board just doesn’t do,” Weerasooriya said.
Weerasooriya notes that he is unhappy with the divisions within the Democratic Central Committee and Board of Education. He claims that he is good at uniting people, so if elected, he will be able to get these groups to work together.
“There are a lot of incompetencies, and not a lot of work is getting done on the board. More people are just about themselves and don’t understand the full process of how to actually secure funds from the state and the county,” Weerasooriya said.
At the end of the day, Weerasooriya’s main goal is to help the struggling families of Harford County.
“I’ve heard some people refer to Harford County public schools as a ‘sinking ship’ due to the current leadership that’s there, and that’s one thing that I will not stand by. I will do everything I can. I’ll give it everything I’ve got in order to reverse that, in order to bring back Harford County public schools to make it the best in the state,” Weerasooriya said.