As Pennsylvania’s special election draws closer, congressional Democratic candidate Conor Lamb took a break from campaigning to speak at Seton Hill University on Feb. 6. Lamb was invited to speak at a meeting for the SHU Young Advocates for Progress – College Democrats Club, which was open to the entire campus.
Lamb is campaigning against Republican candidate Rick Saccone in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District on March 13. The election is being held to fill the vacancy left by Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, who resigned last year.
During his visit at SHU, Lamb, who is from Mt. Lebanon, Pa., discussed his background in the Marine Corps and as a federal prosecutor. He also spoke about different topics of importance to him, including infrastructure and fighting the heroin crisis, and answered questions from students in attendance.
Sebastian Murabito, president of the SHU College Democrats Club, said the club invited Lamb because they want to “promote and advocate for a better young voter turnout.” He added that one of the College Democrats’ strong beliefs is “creating a more united Congress,” which aligns with Lamb’s campaign ideology.
Murabito also said something important to the club is that Lamb isn’t accepting donations from political action committees (PACs) and is following a “grassroots fundraiser.”
“Everyone knows the campaign financing system is broken,” Lamb said during his discussion at SHU. “I know I can’t fix it overnight or over the course of a campaign, but I thought, why not put my money where my mouth is and not accept money from corporate PACs.”
Lamb also encouraged students to get involved with campaigning.
“I’d love to have more people coming out and volunteering,” Lamb said. “It’s the best educating you could ever get. You’ll learn things that you’d never learn anywhere else.”
SHU’s College Democrats Club is a newer club on campus that started as a group chat between Murabito, club vice president Liam McNicholas and a few other friends. After Murabito learned that SHU had a College Republicans Club, he said he was inspired to submit a club recognition form at the end of the Spring 2017 semester to create the College Democrats Club.
“We hold a bi-partisanship agenda where we want to advocate a sense of communication, community and conversation between the two sides of the political spectrum, especially in this time of divisiveness,” Murabito said. “We wanted a club where we talked about politics and current events while simultaneously advocating unity and open-mindedness with all political and social views. That’s how we make our country better: fostering a political mindset that includes collaboration, solidarity and again, open-mindedness of other, sometimes different, viewpoints.”
Along with Murabito and McNicholas, current club officers include Treasurer Jennifer Thomas and Secretary Emilee Marchesini. SHU’s College Democrats Club meets every other Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in Admin 306.
“My hopes for the SHU College Democrats is that we will submit a recognition form to the National College Democrats so we could possibly be a chapter for the College Democrats,” Murabito said. “The other officers wish to see a major political change among the younger voter turnout and see more activism with the younger Democrats and Republicans. There’s many possibilities on the horizon for our club, and I hope more people can join along for the adventure.”
Published By: Paige Parise