Candidate forum

Political Science Students Host Candidate Events


Students who study political science with Dr. Samantha Pettey, an assistant professor of political science at MCLA, recently delved into local politics when they worked with the North Adams Chamber of Commerce to present two political forums. The events, hosted by Greylock WORKS, allowed area voters to become better acquainted with the candidates running for mayor, as well as seats on the North Adams City Council and the city’s school committee.

Candidates story Kaitlin WrightAccording Pettey, “There is no better way to teach students about local and state politics than including a community-based learning project into the course. The local elections provided a wonderful opportunity for a hands-on learning experience. “Students got to know what it’s like when a candidate runs for local office – something I hope they take back with them to their home towns and cities after graduation to pursue their political ambitions.” 

Prior to the event, the students determined what questions should be asked. Political science major Isaac Stewart ’20 of Chesterfield, Mass., was one of four student panelist who posed those questions to the mayoral candidates. He said the opportunity to participate in the real-world election process was an eye-opening experience, as he learned how diverse local politics can be.

History major Logan Brooks ’19, from Peru, Mass., participated as a panelist in the meeting with North Adams City Council and North Adams Public School Committee candidates. “The event allowed me to understand more fully local politics and local issues, as well as the different viewpoints on those issues.”

Brooks is considering a military career or a civil service job, such as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), a police officer, or a firefighter. “Experiences such as this impact my personal life and understanding of the world around me, as well as an area of politics where I have a real say in what happens.”

Kaitlin Wright ’18 of Haverhill, Mass. (pictured above, right), a double major in political science and history, moderated the city council school committee forum. One day, she hopes to run for elected office.

“This was an incredibly helpful event for me to attend and learn from. It gave me a better understanding of how to prepare myself for a forum or debate type of event, as well as how to handle myself on and off stage,” she said.

The experience also was a unique opportunity to incorporate the topics students learn in class into a real-life scenario. According to Wright: “We were able to see firsthand how the positions of city councilor and school committee member impact the daily lives of North Adams citizens as they address real-life concerns, such as water quality issues, violent crime rates, and developing the local economy."

Pictured below, from left to right, are Charlie Weissfellner ’18, Samuel Broderick ’18, Darnell Henriquez ’19, Mackenzie McCarthy ’18, David Leonard ’17, Isaac Stewart ’20 and Justin Therrien ’19, who participated in the mayoral candidate event.

Candidates group