Gee(k), I love politics!

“I’msuchahugefan! It’ssonicetomeetyou! I’vebeenafanofyourclimatepolicyforsolong!  MayIbeacompletedorkandgetaphotowithyou?”  As I gushed, I’m pretty sure it all came out in one long word.  Senate Candidate Ed Markey was very kind, saying it was nice to meet me too, and obliged me with a picture.  After the fact, Christina, our New Sector Fellow in the office this summer, assured me that it was okay that I was this excited to run into a politician.  After all, it’s not everyday that you get to run into a politician whose campaign will be decided in an election the very same week!

What surprised me most was not that we ran into Markey at all, nor that he eats lunch like you and me, nor which food truck whose food he chose to consume.  What surprised me was how excited I got.  When did I turn into such a political geek?

Now, I’m still no political expert by any means, but I have recently tapped into a new interest of mine in local politics.  I was equally, if not more excited over this noon-time run-in than a few of my high school friends were when they once ran into Lindsay Lohan in a Manhattan restaurant.  Maybe it was the cameras or the crowd gathered around, maybe it was the anticipated election, maybe it was hearing Markey’s name for years, and following his proposed climate change-combating legislation during my stint as a student organizer, but I was as excited as if he were a celebrity, and that surprised me.

I’m rapidly approaching my 6-month mark at Generation Citizen, and I guess one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is that it’s okay to get excited about these kinds of things.  In fact, it’s really important to recognize the things about one’s job that are nourishing to one’s soul!  I’ve found that there are many things about working for Generation Citizen that really energize me surrounding this work, beyond just meeting candidates.

I love networking at press conferences.  I love meeting teachers, youth organizers, folks in City Hall, tutors, professors, and more.  I love meeting and collaborating with our incredible college student interns.  I love the feeling of walking out of a productive meeting, knowing that I just met an incredible powerhouse of an administrator who is going to do everything in their power to start a new chapter on their campus.  Or meeting with a student who has the interest and energy in starting a new chapter.  Finding new connections like the Neighborhood Center at Boston College, that will make our Democracy Coaches more networked across campus and get them to be a part of the larger community.

This sense of community that I’ve found in Boston has just as much to do with connecting to friends, or sharing a community garden plot with my neighbors, as it does with attending Mayoral Candidate Felix Arroyo’s campaign kick-off this past weekend.  Generation Citizen’s work is about inspiring people to be engaged and active citizens, and it certainly has done just that for me.

(And, by the way, when I explained Generation Citizen’s work to Ed Markey, he was very impressed!)

~Leila Quinn, Greater Boston Program Associate

Generation Citizen is a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 tax exempt organization which does not endorse candidates; our goal is to engage our staff, participants, and stakeholders in political and civic action on issues that matter to them personally and in their communities. The opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the writer alone and do not reflect the opinions of Generation Citizen.