Letter: Support UMass student Casey Pease for First Franklin District State Rep.

UMass student runs for State Rep.


(Collegian file photo)

By Will Keve

Casey Pease, a junior political science major from Worthington, Massachusetts, is running to be Franklin’s next representative to the State House on Beacon Hill. Pease’s campaign is more than just an emblem of youth political activity. It’s an opportunity for western Massachusetts and the University of Massachusetts to get behind a candidate that will have its interests in mind.

Pease’s district does not include the town of Amherst, but the First Franklin District encompasses 13 towns north and west of the University, including Sunderland, Leverett and Shutesbury, where many off-campus students live and work. The campaign saw the UMass community take notice of Pease’s announcement online, and we want to involve students and faculty in the process of fighting economic inequality and reforming our state government to make it work for the people of western Massachusetts.

Pease has heard from students and residents that transportation cuts, economic inequality and infrastructure development, including expanding broadband internet access, are top priorities for voters. He has spent the last month speaking to residents of the hill towns about how to fix these issues. I’ve attended some of these tours, and Pease’s knowledge of the problems facing Massachusetts combined with his desire to learn from experts and community leaders was inspiring to watch.

On Saturday, the campaign announced that Student Government Association Vice President Nathalie Amazan was joining the campaign as our student outreach coordinator. If Pease wins, he will be the youngest Massachusetts state representative ever, and that’s why our campaign needs to mobilize students. But unlike other candidates who talk a big game about representing young people, Pease is relying on his own experience as a student and advisors like Amazan who are intimately in touch with issues specifically relevant to young people. If Pease is your representative, you won’t have to worry about a politician who pretends to listen to your concerns before brushing them aside. He cares about affordable housing, reliable public transit and inclusive education policy because he is personally affected by those issues alongside voters like you. And with Amazan on board, organizations advocating for students like the SGA, the Center for Education Policy Advocacy and the Stonewall Center will have new direct influence in state government.

Two years ago, I met Pease when he called a meeting of students who supported Bernie Sanders’ campaign. After my friends and I introduced ourselves with the typical name, year and major routine, Pease’s turn came and we learned that the campaign was being organized by a freshman in his fall semester. I can’t imagine showing up to UMass and inviting 50 people to join an organizing effort that I had started before I even set foot on campus, but that’s exactly what Pease did. In my first year, I was more worried about making friends and avoiding the “freshman 15.”

But at that age, Pease was ready to lead the most active political campaign on campus because he had already been a volunteer firefighter, a campaign volunteer and a youth organizer at his high school. He’s been hearing for years now that he’s too young to lead. He’s hearing that again from the media and from his opponents, and just like he was underestimated then, anyone who doubts him is in for a rude awakening.

If you live in the 1st Franklin District or you have friends who do, please tell them about Pease’s campaign and remind them to vote. If you’re ready to volunteer for, intern for or donate to the campaign, visit Pease’s campaign Facebook page. If you have any questions about getting involved with the campaign or the issues Pease stands for, you can reach me at [email protected] Thank you for your support and your vote!


Will Keve

Pease for State Rep. Communications Director