SU Dems Discuss Hot Topics with the Speaker of the House

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Melissa Hanson  Asst. News Editor

On the cold yet sunny afternoon of March 5, the Suffolk University Democrats visited the State House for a memorable discussion with the Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo.

Among those taking part in this trek were 10 of the 14 active members, ranging from freshmen to juniors.  President of the club, Conor Finely, says the atmosphere among the Dems was both excited and nervous as they approached the State House.

“To see the Speaker of the House was exciting,” said Finley, “but you face reality.”  The reality came from the thought that any of the students who accompanied him could be actively working in politics within a few short years.  Although not every member of the club is a “political junkie,” they all are interested in politics, and younger members were nervous to speak with such prominent politicians.

Jason Aluia, legislative director to the former Speaker and a friend of Finley’s, was able to set up this visit for the Dems, making sure DeLeo could set aside time for the college students.  Aluia gave the 10 members a tour of the great hall and then brought them to two different offices.

The first belonged to Governor Patrick.  This quick meet and greet was a surprise for the Dems, who all got to shake hands with the governor.  The second office belonged to DeLeo, who impressed the students with his questions and compassion during their discussion.

“He was intrigued that there were young kids like us getting involved,” said Finley.  DeLeo started their conversation by stating the importance of college voters in America, noting that if not for them the country would have another president, and be different itself.

But then he turned the tables.  Instead of leading the conversation, he was more interested in what the students had to say.  He asked every member of the Dems to discuss an issue in politics they felt passionate about, and talk about why in particular they felt connected to that cause.

“He was really curious about us,” said Finley.  This was great for the group, considering their wide range of political background and different career aspirations, an aspect of the club that Finley is extremely proud of.

Finley said the visit “put a lot of things into perspective,” specifically that any one of the Suffolk Dems has the potential to achieve their goals.   The group thought of DeLeo as a “regular, normal guy,” which helped them imagine themselves in his position later in life.  Finley was most happy that it gave the students the confidence to talk with important politicians.

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