This fall, Bowdoin alum and Iraq War veteran Alex Cornell du Houx '08 has his sights on the Maine Legislature.

Cornell du Houx is running for state representative from District 66, a part of Brunswick that consists of approximately 300 Bowdoin students, including residents in Howell House, Helmreich House, Burnett House, and Stowe Inn. Running as a Democrat, Cornell du Houx will face two opponents on the ballot: Jonathan Crimmins, a Republican, and David Frans, a Green Independent candidate. Both Crimmins and Frans live in Brunswick.

The seat, formerly occupied by Stan Gerzofsky from 2000 until 2008, will be vacated since Gerzofsky cannot seek re-election because of term limits. Gerzofsky, a Democrat, is running this November for the Maine State Senate.

Cornell du Houx, 25, is no stranger to Maine politics. While at Bowdoin, he participated in the Bowdoin College Democrats and served as co-president of the Maine College Democrats.

"The activities and the classes I participated in at Bowdoin helped me tremendously in gaining the experience needed to run a campaign," Cornell du Houx said.

With the election less than 40 days away, Cornell du Houx said that plans to continue door-to-door campaigning—a straightforward strategy he has adhered to since announcing his candidacy last March.

"For a local election, the strategy is primarily getting a lot of doors, and personally meeting your voters," Cornell du Houx said. "In a small district, like District 66, you have the ability to meet a sizable chunk of possible voters."

"In a local election, knocking on doors is far more important than ideology," echoed Professor of Government Christian Potholm, who specializes in Maine politics. "And knocking on doors and listening is far more important than knocking on doors and blabbing about what issues you care about."

Potholm also said that the position of state representative for District 66 has been held by Bowdoin alumni before, including Tommy Davidson '94, who served three terms in the Maine Legislature.

"Being a Bowdoin student used to be a negative if you ran for local office, but now there is a precedent," Potholm said.

Though only a fraction of Bowdoin will actually be able to vote for Cornell du Houx (most of Bowdoin is represented by District 63, a seat currently held by Charlie Priest), the Bowdoin College Democrats have worked to encourage eligible students to vote for Cornell du Houx.

"What we're doing for Alex is basically trying to get all the students in his district to vote," said Eamonn Hart '09, co-communications director for the Bowdoin Democrats. "That's going to happen in a couple of ways, including literature drops, and getting students aware that there's a Bowdoin student running for state legislature that some have the opportunity to vote for."

Claire Cooper '09, co-president of the Bowdoin Democrats, said while volunteer efforts have been made on behalf of Cornell du Houx's candidacy, the organization is not devoting more resources to his campaign than the other local, statewide, or national races.

"We're not really focusing on Alex's campaign more than any other campaign," Cooper said.

Cornell du Houx said that his platform consists of several issues, including the redevelopment of the Brunswick Naval Air Station (BNAS) and veterans care.

If elected, he plans to introduce a bill to bring a community college to the air base land.

"I'll be introducing a bill to bring a community college to the BNAS redevelopment authority," Cornell du Houx said. "If we can bring the community college to the base, we can have teaching and the resources that will be available with that."

Cornell du Houx also said that he cares a great deal about veterans' health issues, particularly because of his own involvement with the military. Cornell du Houx served for nine months in 2006 as a Marine in Fallujah, Iraq.

"We can do a better job of taking care of the troops when veterans come home," Cornell du Houx said. "And I think it's our obligation to provide them with adequate resources...a third of all homeless men are veterans [nationwide] and that's unacceptable."

Though Cornell du Houx lacks a formal team of advisers, he often receives advice from friends and family. He said that his mother has helped him print campaign literature, which he then distributes to voters in the district. In addition, Andy Cashman '03, a friend of Cornell du Houx's from their time together with the Bowdoin Democrats, said that he and Cornell du Houx talk strategy on a weekly basis.

Cashman said that Cornell du Houx decided early in the race to run as a clean elections candidate.

"That was one of the things that we had to decide early, whether he should run traditionally, in which case he would raise all of his own money privately, or whether he would register as a publicly funded candidate," said Cashman.

Frans is also running as a clean elections candidate, while Crimmins has decided to forgo public funds and finance his campaign privately.

Cashman, now in his third year at the Maine Law School in Portland, said that it has been exciting to chart Cornell du Houx's political progression.

"He's really been a lot of fun to watch, from not being too involved when he was just starting as a freshman, and then seeing him get really caught up [in politics] and really enjoy it," Cashman said.