Eyes will be on Texas this November as the governor's race comes to a close. At this point in the campaign, Republican candidate and current attorney general, Greg Abbott, has a lead over Democrat candidate Senator Wendy Davis. Unfortunately, I will not be able to vote in the election due to my age, but I knew I wanted to be a part of trying to elect Wendy Davis to the governor's office, so I started volunteering with her campaign.
I discovered my interest in politics last year, and when I learned about Wendy's platform, which focuses on education, gender equality, giving job opportunities to Texans, government accountability and caring for veterans, I knew I wanted this woman as my governor.
If using social media to campaign qualifies as volunteering, I've been volunteering since the primaries, but as far as phone banking and block walking and other events that are actually associated with the campaign, I've been volunteering since late February with our local teams.
Having the opportunity to get involved in government leadership, as a young person has helped me learn about the organizational side of politics. Being able to witness what goes into a campaign firsthand has showed me that there is so much more than just throwing a candidate's name on the ballot and hoping for votes. There's an entire infrastructure of volunteers who organize groups who organize events, with even more volunteers, to spread information about the candidate and raise funds to keep it all going. The campaign has not only allowed me to observe, but to contribute ideas for events and ways of doing things. Having my ideas heard and implemented has really made me feel like a valued equal to the adult volunteers and organizers.
There's a very large sense of community in volunteering. Everyone is there because they believe in the candidate and have stories that have led them to volunteering. My story includes my mother being a teacher and my father being a veteran. Part of Wendy's education plan brings teachers back to teaching, instead of being test administers. She also wants to help veterans by creating jobs for them upon reentry into civilian life, as well as creating other policies that help pay for education for military families.
I'm excited to say that since I started volunteering, I have applied for the "Wendy Davis Summer Fellowship" intern program with the Democratic organization, Battleground Texas, and have been accepted. This summer I will be learning even more about organizing and getting even deeper into the campaigning process. I'm extremely excited for this opportunity to share my voice for a better Texas.
I'd like to thank the Wendy Davis campaign and Battleground Texas for everything I've learned and everything I will learn, as well as the opportunity to get involved.
Follow Garrett Degraffenreid on Twitter: www.twitter.com/garrettdeg