Alumnus assists State Representative hopeful in political campaign

State+Representative+hopeful+Ilhan+Omar+and+Student+Outreach+Director+Noah+Shavit-Lonstein+meet+constituents+at+Espresso+Royale+in+Dinkytown.+%E2%80%9CI%E2%80%99ve+had+a+lot+of+success+getting+students+to+support+Ilhan.+People+our+age%2C+I+think%2C+are+very+tired+of+politicians+who+have+been+making+decisions+for+a+long+time+without+much+input+%5Bfrom+constituents%5D%2C%E2%80%9D+Shavit-Lonstein+said.

Matthew Ogbeifun

State Representative hopeful Ilhan Omar and Student Outreach Director Noah Shavit-Lonstein meet constituents at Espresso Royale in Dinkytown. “I’ve had a lot of success getting students to support Ilhan. People our age, I think, are very tired of politicians who have been making decisions for a long time without much input [from constituents],” Shavit-Lonstein said.

St. Paul Academy and Summit School alumnus Noah Shavit-Lonstein (‘13) is the Student Outreach Director for State Representative hopeful Ilhan Omar. Shavit-Lonstein juggles his role in the Omar campaign and being a full-time student at the University of Minnesota.

“There really is no typical day. On the days I’m working for Ilhan, it’s a mix of board meetings, door knocks, meetings with students, campaign events, and other odd jobs. I just got to host a community meeting at a coffee shop where voters can come talk to Ilhan, and I’m co- hosting a fundraiser in a couple weeks, so there’s lots of variety,” Shavit-Lonstein said.

According to Omar’s website, she is running “because our community needs an energetic [state] representative with a bold vision for a prosperous and equitable Minnesota.” Shavit-Lonstein aims to further this vision.

He began his journey by volunteering with Ilhan Omar’s political team.

“My colleague Bill Emory, who I’ve worked with on some political issue campaigns in the past, was Omar’s first campaign director. He knows me well and invited me to take an involved role in the campaign. I initially worked on the political team, but now I have the ‘official position’ of Student Outreach Director,” Shavit-Lonstein said.

Shavit-Lonstein and his team are aiming to win the Democratic party endorsement at the caucus this April. However, the task is a tedious one. It would involve Omar’s supporters spending a night at their precinct caucuses and to dedicate hours in the day to attend a complicated and unneeded convention process.

It’s important for those of us who have the time to make our voices heard: campaigning, rallying, organizing, writing your legislators, whatever it is. Democracy is about much more than voting once a year.”

— Noah Shavit-Lonstein, SPA Class of '13

Shavit-Lonstein describes the system of conventions and caucuses as being, “deliberately difficult for most people in the district to participate.”

“It’s very hard for busy students, new Americans, and working families to participate. Not only is this tough to work with personally, it’s disheartening to see how this system is still in place though it’s very outdated and exclusive,” Shavit-Lonstein said.

Despite being difficult, Shavit-Lonstein’s job campaigning can be very rewarding at times.

“I’ve had a lot of success getting students to support Ilhan. People our age are tired of politicians who have been making decisions for a long time without much input [from constituents]. It’s exciting to see students get excited about a candidate who’s listening closely to our concerns about tuition, housing, and more,” Shavit-Lonstein said.

With his role on the political team and being an avid supporter of Omar, Shavit-Lonstein has accumulated knowledge regarding the world of politics from a unique perspective. He offers great advice to the students of SPA, who may have an interest in politics, much like Shavit-Lonstein did.

“The thing all young people should know about political campaigning is this: decisions are made by the people who show up. Your opinions on an issue, well thought out though they may be, don’t do anything until you put them into action. I think it’s important for those of us who have the time to make our voices heard: campaigning, rallying, organizing, writing your legislators, whatever it is,” Shavit-Lonstein said. “Democracy is about much more than voting once a year.”