Most congressional candidates do not have to factor homework time into their campaign schedules, but Andrew Gall, the 27-year-old graduate student running for Congress, does just that. With a staff consisting entirely of students, including two Georgetown undergraduates, Gall is looking to become the youngest member of Congress.
Gall is working toward his master’s degree in public policy at University of Maryland, College Park, while also campaigning against House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in Maryland’s 5th Congressional District.
Gall’s staffers are also much younger than their counterparts on Hoyer’s staff. Like Gall, a former intern and field organizer for the Obama campaign, every member of his staff is a student.
“The largest problem is simply the logistics of balancing schoolwork with the campaign,” Gall said in an e-mail. “However, there’s no question that the energy and the ability to think about old problems in new ways as a result of an all-student staff outweigh any negatives.”
Georgetown students Kiran Gandhi (COL ’11) and Alex Silberman (COL ’11) both work on Gall’s campaign. Gandhi is a research intern, and Silberman is the chief speechwriter and deputy press secretary.
“This is a grassroots campaign with tons of opportunities for college students to get involved at very high levels of campaign strategy,” Silberman said. “I got involved in the Andrew for Congress campaign because I strongly support his passion for progressive, responsible and innovative solutions to America’s most pressing issues.”
Gall said that having a student-run staff enables him to campaign without relying on corporate backing.
“I don’t simply talk about special interests as a way to gin up votes, but [I] actually and deeply believe that once we first address the role of special interest money in our legislative process, we will then be able to much more successfully address the other issues – from tax reform to climate change – facing America,” Gall said.
Gall’s platform is centered around transparency, more funding for education, the environment, and opposition to the Iraq war, which Hoyer supported. The two candidates platforms are similar on many counts, with the major difference coming in the area of national security.
Gall’s belief in the importance of youth involvement in politics is evident in his campaign – not only does he have an exceptionally young staff, but if elected, Gall would also become the youngest member of Congress.
Gall said that the main problem in current political leadership is the lack of representation from the “Millennial Generation.” Due to this deficit, the government prioritizes funding programs like social security over education, according to Gall.
“This simply wouldn’t be the case if you had more young voters and young public officials,” Gall said.
“Rather, you would see a greater emphasis on issues that matter to us, like climate change, gay rights and the looming fiscal crisis.”
Gall aims to use his campaign to change what he sees as the status quo.
“I am running for Congress to hold Hoyer accountable for his disastrous and immoral support for invading Iraq, because I want to divorce special interest money from the policymaking process, and because I believe young people deserve a voice in shaping our futures,” Gall said.
“If students are interested in progressive politics, join my campaign – I still have openings I need to fill,” Gall said.