Junior Elisabeth Carter attended the Brunswick Democratic Caucus with no intention of becoming a local representative, but by the end of the Sunday meeting she was one of the 12 members of the Cumberland County Democratic Committee.
Carter, a government and legal studies and environmental studies double major, attended the caucus after seeing flyers in Smith Union advertising a raffle that would send one lucky winner to see President Obama in Portland at the end of the month. The Brunswick Democratic Caucus was held at Brunswick Junior High School. Around 50 people in total attended the event, but only three attendees were Bowdoin students—Zac Crawford '12, who is an intern for State Representative Alex Cornell du Houx '06, BSG President Derek Brooks '12, and Carter.
Brooks and Carter said they were were disappointed to see so few Bowdoin students at the caucus.
"It was sad to see that there were only three Bowdoin students," Brooks said. "It's very weird the Democratic club on campus was not there at all."
"Why aren't more students engaged in local politics and trying to have an actual impact?" asked Carter.
The caucus focused primarily on acquiring signatures for candidates running for the Maine state legislature and finding 15 people to become members of the Cumberland County Democratic Committee. Only 11 people raised their hands.
"We can have a big voice in Brunswick politics if we tried," Carter said. "It's good to have a member on the committee from Bowdoin because the College is a significant part of the town."
After seeing that no one else was going to, and became Cumberland County Committee's 12th member, she raised her hand.
Carter said she is not 100 percent sure what she will be doing as part of the committee, but looks forward to its first meeting on March 18.
Generally, the primary function of a county committee member is organizing on a local level: informing voters about upcoming elections and candidates, as well as registering people to vote.
Participating in the caucus also made Carter a Brunswick state delegate for the Maine Democratic Convention in June that will be held in Augusta.
In response to the dismal turnout from Bowdoin students, Brooks and Crawford cowrote an op-ed encouraging civic engagement, which has been published on the Orient Express.