Rachel Weston, a former president of the Graduate Student Senate, was rewarded for knocking on roughly 3,000 doors in her Burlington district when she won her bid to become one of Vermont’s youngest state representatives.
"I took a class with former governor Madeleine Kunin called 'Women, Politics and Leadership' that dealt with women and their struggle to vote," says Weston, who easily captured her Old North End district with 1,676 votes. "That translated into young people being the underrepresented. Less than five percent of elected officials nationwide are under age 35. That was part of the reason why I ran for graduate student senate; so young people had more of a voice."
Weston generated 140 new Facebook friends during her campaign buildup, which she says helped create excitement among people her age who often communicate through cell phones, blogs and Internet sites. "Young voters have different ways of communicating than past generations," says Weston, a jazz musician who threw a party called "Vote Loudly" at Nectar's to celebrate the 500 voter registrations.
"It’s a different time than during the Vietnam War," says Scudder Parker, who lost his bid to unseat Gov. Jim Douglas, while standing outside Lawrence Barnes School with Weston on Election Day. "Young people realize that there are a number of ways to reach people about a number of different issues. Rachel [and Kevin Lumpkin, then president of college democrats] understand[s] that."