Carrying double identities

Carrying double identities

by Kate Paulman

While many college students are concerned with making it through their government class, junior Andrea Diaz and senior Brian Depew are busy being involved in real-life politics.

Depew is running as the Green Party candidate for Secretary of Agriculture in the general election on Nov. 5. Diaz is the representative for the Iowa branch of Rock the Vote.

“I’ve been involved in grassroots politics for as long as I can remember,” Depew said. “I’ve also been involved in sustainable agriculture for a long time.”

Depew is running against Republican John Askew, Libertarian Fritz Groszkruger, Independent Ronald Tigner and Democratic Incumbent Patty Judge. Depew says he feels that the dynamics of this race are “perfect,” and may be set up better than any other race.

“[The Green Party] is posed to make a significant impact in this race,” Depew said. “I’ve had democrats say openly to me that they are going to vote for me because they don’t feel the democratic candidate represents the left.”

Depew’s decision to seek nomination came this summer from delegates at the Green Party State Convention.

Like Depew, Diaz also sought out her position of political power. Diaz heard about Rock the Vote from former student body president Nate Boulton. Rock the Vote is a nonpartisan program aimed to get 18-24 year-olds registered to vote.

“It sounded really interesting, so I applied,” Diaz said.

Diaz interviewed for the position with national Rock the Vote representatives and was offered the job.

Diaz has also had previous experience in politics, working on Governor Tom Vilsack’s campaign and serving as a member of both Simpson College Democrats and Iowa College Democrats.

Through her involvement with Rock the Vote, Diaz says she has been involved in exciting events and made important connections.

“It’s a really fun job,” Diaz said. “You get to go to all these concerts and get backstage passes.”

“I actually established a relationship between the Nadas, and Rock the Vote was offered a job with them.”

Both students agree that their involvement in politics is demanding, but neither plan to stop.

“I’m basically running the Iowa branch of Rock the Vote, a national non-profit organization, out of my desk,” Diaz said. “It’s really time-consuming, but it’s also really exciting.”

To make time for campaigning, Depew has cut back to 12 credit hours this semester, but is still continuing his double major in geology and philosophy.

“I don’t just have my name on the ballot,” Depew said. “I’ve spent significant time on this.”

Diaz continues to be active in other organizations on campus, such as Kappa Kappa Gamma and Spanish Club, while working with the Rock the Vote campaign.

Both Diaz and Depew see politics in their future. “Right now, I’m thinking about attending law school,” Diaz said. “I’m looking for some kind of future with this, but I’m not sure when or what.”

“It’s been an amazing learning experience,” Depew said. “I just can’t seem to get away.”