Suffolk student manages mayoral campaign

Article By: Derek Anderson

Johnson with Setti Warren night of the Sept. 15 preliminary election, of City Hall as results were coming in
Johnson with Setti Warren night of the Sept. 15 preliminary election, of City Hall as results were coming in

Suffolk’s political touch stretches farther with sophomore Pat Johnson who recently has worked on the Setti Warren campaign, the mayor-elect of Newton. His experience working with political campaigns dates back farther than Warren’s campaign; Johnson’s had his share of experience working as the President of the College Democrats of Massachusetts since April of 2009.

Johnson started his political work by co-founding a Young Democrats chapter in his junior year of high school. He then volunteered for the Obama campaign in his senior year, working in Mass. and New Hampshire. Soon after he got an internship with Mass. Democratic Party, working with John Joseph Moakley 2008. Now a Political Science major at Suffolk and a member of the Suffolk Democrats, Johnson is the President of the College Democrats of Massachusetts, working on multiple campaigns, most recently on Setti Warren’s.

“In November, two weeks after the Obama campaign, I met Setti Warren. I started working for him part-time in Feb. 2009, then started full time as a campaign manager May 1 and served on his campaign until Nov. when he won,” said Johnson.

As a campaign manager for Warren, he worked in multiple areas, from event-planning to fundraising.
“One of the things I worked really hard on was developing an internship program for high school students for the campaign. In Newton we got a lot of high school students involved. We just knocked on doors, made phone calls after phone calls,” said Johnson.

“I got the opportunity to go knocking on doors with [Setti] quite a lot,” said Johnson. “That was really fun and really inspiring too, because you get out there and you see a candidate that works really hard that’s running for the right reasons that believes in the city and believes in the regions that they’re running, and I think that shows a really positive and good part of democracy.”

According to Johnson, working on a local campaign is very different from a national campaign.

“In a national campaign you’re just kind of just a small piece of the pie, where you work on one small task. A local campaign like this, you’re part of it. You have your foot in every different faction of the campaign,” said Johnson.

Johnson has always been interested in politics, dating back to his high school years. He was inspired by Governor Deval Patrick’s campaign in 2006 where he realized it wasn’t difficult to get involved. He was motivated to mobilize as a Democrat under the Bush Administration and felt they were a reason to get into politics.

Megan Costello, a Suffolk alumni, also worked on Warren’s campaign alongside Johnson. She was in charge of volunteer coordination and was also in charge of Election Day operations during the Warren campaign.

“[Warren’s] campaign was unique in a sense of organization. It was a positive team that worked really, really hard,” said Costello.

Costello’s interest, much like Johnson’s, has also always been present in her life.

“I’ve always been really interested and passionate about politics,” said Costello. “It’s a way to make a change in society.”
When asked about future projects, both Johnson and Costello said they would continue to do political work now, but the future is untold and they were unsure.

“I’m not set on this for the long run, but on the short term, I enjoy it,” said Johnson. “It’s really an amazing time we have right now. Even in both parties, there are a lot of young people, new people getting into office. There are a lot of new people, a lot of diverse people, a lot of young people running for office and I think that’s real exciting. As long as that’s happening, it fun to be a part of it.”