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Larsen connects with voters as a congressional candidate intern

Kaia+Larsen+holds+a+sign+pointing+toward+candidate+Angie+Craig+at+a+parade+this+summer.+%E2%80%9CTell+people+to+get+out+to+vote+on+November+6.+Register+to+vote%2C+that%27s+really+important%2C+%5Band+don%E2%80%99t+forget+to+vote+and%5D+use+your+voice%2C%E2%80%9D+Larsen+said.
Kaia Larsen holds a sign pointing toward candidate Angie Craig at a parade this summer. “Tell people to get out to vote on November 6. Register to vote, that's really important, [and don’t forget to vote and] use your voice,” Larsen said.

Kaia Larsen holds a sign pointing toward candidate Angie Craig at a parade this summer. “Tell people to get out to vote on November 6. Register to vote, that's really important, [and don’t forget to vote and] use your voice,” Larsen said.

Submitted Photo: Kaia Larsen

Submitted Photo: Kaia Larsen

Kaia Larsen holds a sign pointing toward candidate Angie Craig at a parade this summer. “Tell people to get out to vote on November 6. Register to vote, that's really important, [and don’t forget to vote and] use your voice,” Larsen said.

By Chloe Morse, St. Paul Academy and Summit School

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What combines a competitive congressional race, personal connections, and advocating for what you believe in? For senior Kaia Larsen, the answer is an internship with the Angie Craig campaign.

At the end of her junior year, Larsen was looking for a political internship to continue her previous work in political action.

“I volunteered for the Hillary Clinton campaign, doing Get out the vote, and then two summers ago, going into junior year, I worked on a city council campaign for Barb Johnson,” Larsen said.

Democratic candidate Craig is running against Republican incumbent Jason Lewis in the 2nd congressional district.

“The [Barb Johnson campaign] I worked on last year was democrats vs. democrats, so the stakes weren’t very high. I was excited to work in [the Angie Craig campaign] because it’s a campaign where it really matters, and if you put in the work there’s a real possibility of flipping the district,” Larsen said. “This is a really exciting race because it’s one of the most competitive races in the nation.”

I was excited to work in [the Angie Craig campaign] because it’s a campaign where it really matters, and if you put in the work there’s a real possibility of flipping the district.”

— senior Kaia Larsen

Larsen’s job centers on reaching out to voters to encourage them to vote for Craig, often through phone-banking and door-knocking.

“Most of what I do is … constituent outreach to make sure people are familiar with Angie Craig, and if they’re going to vote for her in November. A big part of the Angie Craig campaign is getting people to vote by mail so their votes are guaranteed,” Larsen said.

Besides the excitement of this congressional campaign, Larsen also appreciates her ability to connect with voters and other people more than she’s been able to in the past. Voter outreach requires her to talk to constituents one-on-one, but her previous experience has helped her connect more with voters than in previous campaigns.

“When I worked for Barb Johnson, I was given a script…and I followed the script exactly. But then this [campaign] … I’ve been able to take on a bigger role by talking more personally to the voters, talking to them about volunteering and organizing… And talking to them, [about] what’s important to them, and really just having a conversation with the voters,” Larsen said.

However, part of connecting more with voters also involves explaining the issues Larsen cares about, and why she personally supports Craig.

“That’s something to show why I’m personally investing, [and] to show not just that you should vote for her, but … why,” Larsen said. “[Craig] supports gun violence prevention measures that are really important to me … she’s not for getting rid of guns, she just wants comprehensive background checks so people who have them are safe and they’ll use them properly… Another reason I support her is she supports a K-14 education, where the first two years of college are free,” Larsen said.

Larsen also supports Craig because her stance on issues is not synonymous with the stance of the democratic party.

“[Craig is] trying to step across party lines and speak for what she believes in. She’s not 100% worried about aligning with the DFL, which really helps her because she can reach out to more voters,” Larsen said.

Looking ahead, Larsen plans to continue her work in political action. However, she wants to make more of an impact through personally connecting with voters.

“I hope in the future I can take more of a role than door-knocking and phone-banking, because sometimes that does get a little boring and disheartening when people don’t answer, and you’re dialing your phone all day for hours. I would like to continue with events, or something that’s more involved with being face to face with people,” Larsen said.

For everyone, whether they’re working on a campaign or not, Larsen encourages them to vote this fall and to take action for what they believe in.

“Tell people to get out to vote on November 6. Register to vote, that’s really important, [and don’t forget to vote and] use your voice,” Larsen said.

You can find the link to register to vote online here, and your polling location here. The election is on Nov. 6th, and polling locations will typically be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.—be sure to check when your polling location is open.  

This story was originally published on The Rubicon on September 7, 2018.

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