Metro, University News

Goldstein-Rose ’16 seeks Massachusetts representative seat

Students at Brown, Mass. universities canvas, phone bank on behalf of progressive candidate

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Running on a platform of environmental sustainability, clean energy and educational reform, Solomon Goldstein-Rose ’16 is campaigning for a seat representing the Third Hampshire District, which includes Amherst, in the Massachusetts legislature.

Winning a seat as state representative while at school may seem like a lofty goal, but Goldstein-Rose has some experience in achieving things that aren’t usually expected of students. As a junior, he founded and directed the Energize Rhode Island Coalition to campaign on carbon pricing in the Ocean State. A bill Goldstein-Rose drafted on that issue will be reintroduced to the Rhode Island legislature in 2016 after having been revised by a team of experts and stakeholders.

“Being a state representative seems like one of the ways I can push these issues the most,” Goldstein-Rose said, adding that the University community is heavily involved with his campaign. “There’s a core group of really dedicated people that are helping advise me and develop statements about issues” through canvassing in Amherst and operating phone banks on campus, he said.

But Goldstein-Rose’s support isn’t limited to Brown’s campus, said Emily Stetson, a junior from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “There are a ton of people who support Solomon at UMass,” she said, but “the problem is mobilizing those people.”

“A lot of the students aren’t registered to vote in Amherst, so we’re talking to students about possibly registering to vote here,” Stetson said. “That’s preferable because we’re a far larger constituency here than at home,” she added.

As one of the lead organizers of Goldstein-Rose’s campaign at UMass Amherst, Stetson involves herself with outreach efforts — something she considers both part of her civic duties and fieldwork for her studies. “I’m a political science major, so it doesn’t make sense to do all this research and not get involved,” she said.

If elected, Goldstein-Rose would be one of the youngest state legislators in the country — a fact that has the potential to either help or hinder his campaign.

“We have to talk about my credibility a lot more than other candidates who just have all the professional connections in the community,” Goldstein-Rose said. Because he lacks the same name recognition as other community members who have been in Amherst for decades, Goldstein-Rose admitted he has to “get the word out and put a lot more effort in than other candidates” when it comes to campaigning.

“If we do it right, being young will help,” Goldstein-Rose said. He added that young people “have new ideas and are more ready to push the big picture things” because “these are the issues we and our kids are going to have to be dealing with for a long time.”

But the extra work of campaigning can put a strain on students already occupied with schoolwork and other obligations. Goldstein-Rose, who spends most of his weekends shuttling back and forth between Providence and Amherst, lowered his course load to three classes — mostly concentration requirements — for his final semester.

“Brown students are usually pretty stressed and busy,” Goldstein-Rose said. “But we like it because we feel like we’re doing really meaningful things.”

“It’s definitely hard,” Stetson said. “But I feel almost a sense of obligation just to engage with my civic duties and help with the campaign,” she added.

“It can be a lot, but the great thing about volunteering for a campaign is you can put in as much time as you’d like,” said Grant MacFaddin ’19, a volunteer for Goldstein-Rose’s campaign. “Not a lot of students can go to Amherst on the weekends. But we have phone banks on campus, so there are still ways to help out,” he added.

Goldstein-Rose will face five other candidates in the Sept. 8 Democratic primary for representative, though it is generally understood that whoever achieves that nomination is assured a general victory in Massachusetts’s liberal Third Hampshire District, he said.

“Very, very few people in our generation see politics as a way to make change,” Goldstein-Rose said. “Hopefully this campaign will get more young people involved and show them the progress we can make if we reclaim politics.”