Less than six months after earning degrees in political science and organizational communication from Keuka College, Tom Drumm ’15 was elected to the 16th District seat on the Oswego County Legislature.
The 22-year-old recently discussed his experience as a candidate and what lies ahead on Keuka College Today, a monthly show aired on WFLR (96.9 and 101.9 FM, 1570 AM), part of the Finger Lakes Radio Network. The program is hosted by Executive Director of Grants, Government Relations, and Compliance Doug Lippincott.
Drumm credits his Keuka College education—primarily the teaching acumen of his professors and Field Period, including one with U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer—for playing a major role in preparing him for the challenges of a political campaign and holding elected office.
The Keuka College influence did not end on graduation day, however. Drumm recalled that a few days before the election, Dr. Angela Narasimhan, assistant professor of political science, led a group of six students to Oswego County to volunteer for the Drumm campaign, most notably by going door-to-door in the 16th District.
Drumm said he is focused on doing his best for the people of Oswego County, but he may just have what it takes to be a voice on the statewide and national political scenes in the years ahead.
Election Day 2015 was a stellar success for two Keuka College graduates. Aileen McNabb-Coleman ’00 and Tom Drumm ’15 both won seats in the Cayuga and Oswego county legislatures, respectively.
Running on the Democrat, Independent and Working Family lines, Mc-Nabb-Coleman defeated opponent Joseph Runkle, to win a four-year term in Cayuga’s 6th District seat. Meanwhile, Drumm, who ran on the Democratic and Women’s Equality lines for Oswego’s 16thDistrict seat, defeated Republican opponent James Scanlon and will serve a two-year term. At Keuka College, McNabb-Coleman earned a degree in unified childhood/special education while Drumm earned degrees in political science and history and organizational communication.
“I believe strongly in engagement and participation in local government,” said McNabb-Coleman “Due to the climate of the national stage of politics, I find that citizens are disengaged; couple that with having busy careers and family life, and it is difficult to increase awareness.”
So she did something about it.
“When I finally decided to run for county legislator, what drove me was the idea of setting our county on a new fiscally responsible path so that my children could enjoy the fruits of our labor—and representing women on a 15-member, all male, county legislature,” said McNabb-Coleman, who used the phrase “Run Like a Girl” in her campaign signs to reinforce her position.
Drumm said he ran on a message of “new energy and new blood” at the county level. He started getting that message out about six months ago when he launched his campaign and sticking to it proved effective, he said.
“I think those in the county are craving new leadership,” Drumm said. “I discussed that we seem to have become stagnant, whether in social issues or some economic areas as well.”
Drumm’s campaign got a boost the Sunday before Election Day from six political science and history majors at Keuka College who traveled to Oswego with Dr. Angela Narasimhan, assistant professor of political science and history. After convening briefly at the union hall for Oswego’s UA Local 73 to hear from Drumm about his platform, the group picked up campaign literature and set out to help Drumm make door-to-door visits.
“It was huge how that team helped me cover my entire district in a day,” Drumm said. “My opponent was a lifelong resident in the city, raised a family and he’s lived here probably 45 years, and sometimes that works to people’s advantage. I’m fresh out of college and it can take a lot to establish a coalition. The big thing is the final push – you have to turn out the vote. To get a push like that from students who traveled two hours to Oswego to help knock on doors for a campaign like mine – I’m in debt to them. I’m so grateful.”
According to Dr. Narasimhan, three of the students had never met Tom and several were interested in getting involved politically back home so they were eager to hear his story and his advice.
“He used each Field Period™ experience and his major to explore different avenues, and was able to tell my students about the connections he made and how he found an office to run for,” Dr. Narasimhan said, describing how Drumm learned from local party leaders the strategy they envisioned for him to win an open seat. The canvassing experience “absolutely” aligned with the College’s focus on experiential learning, she added.
During his time as a student, Drumm conducted separate Field Period™ experiences with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) and the NYS Democratic Committee. He also completed his senior practicum with Doug Lippincott, Keuka College’s executive director of grants, government relations and compliance. Some of the individuals he met became mentors, Drumm said.
“It’s very rewarding to see it all pay off – it’s exciting, and honestly, it’s a little overwhelming,” Drumm said, attributing his win to “not only how much I’ve learned but the amazing people I met during college —professors like Drs. Narasimhan, Chris Leahy, David Leon—who gave me the confidence and knowledge to be able to make a political run at 22.”
Both Drumm and McNabb-Coleman will be sworn into their new offices in early January.
To say the race for the White House has been wild and wacky is an understatement.
It wasn’t that long ago that pundits were predicting a Clinton-Bush rematch—this time Hillary and Jeb. Yes, Hillary is leading the Democratic polls but it’s been a rollercoaster ride for the former U.S. senator and secretary of state. And who knows what will happen after the Benghazi hearing? Who would have guessed her primary challenger would Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont. And Bernie is big, as his portrayal by Larry David on Saturday Light Live attests.
On the other side, Jeb has tumbled in the polls thanks to two insurgents—billionaire Donald Trump, whose bombastic style and views on immigration have drawn admiration and disgust, and Dr. Ben Carson, the soft-spoken surgeon who spoke at Keuka College in 2010.
What better person to make sense of all this than Dr. Chris Leahy, professor of history and political analyst. Leahy analyzed all the political maneuverings on the October edition of Keuka College Today, which airs on WFLR (1570 AM, 96. 9/101.9 FM, Finger Lakes Radio Network).
Adding intrigue to the show, hosted by Executive Director of Grants, Government Relations, and Compliance Doug Lippincott, was that it aired live a day after Joe Biden announced he would not run for president.
Leahy, a regular guest on the show, will offer his analysis during the primary season, after the conventions, and right before Americans go to the polls next November.
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of Q&As with full-time faculty members who recently joined us at Keuka College. Today, meet three of the College’s new additions.
Dr. Kristen Bacon, assistant professor of occupational therapy, teaches OCC 430, guiding students in theories for field practice
Last book read: Pedretti’s Occupational Therapy Practice skills for physical dysfunction.
Favorite quote: Two personal quotes of mine: ”I don’t do math in public,” & “I’m an OT. I can adapt and overcome…almost anything.”
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: Tinker Bell… because she can fly anywhere she wants.
What makes teaching fun: The variety of students on campus, their personalities, & the satisfaction knowing you’ve taught the students part of something they’ll be using for the career.
What do you do for fun? I enjoy spending time with my husband & two daughters and together we enjoy family time and camping.
Dr. Mikhail Sher, assistant professor of operations management, currently teaches BUS 330 on operations and production management, and will teach a variety of management, finance and business analytics courses in the future.
Last book read: “The Power of Intuition” by Gary Klein. This book is about how we can use our intuition to make better decisions at work as well as in our personal lives.
Favorite quote: “It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.” — W. Edwards Deming
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: Neo from “The Matrix.” Do I really need to say why?
What makes teaching fun: I love seeing the growth and progress of my students!
What do you do for fun? I enjoy playing chess, watching football (Go Steelers!!!) and spending time outdoors.
Dr. Jessica MacNamara, assistant professor of sociology, joined the campus in 2014, and teaches classes including: Introduction to Sociology, Sociology of the Family, Environmental Sociology, Social Problems, Methods of Social Research, Applied Research Methods, First Year Workshop in Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Sociology, FYE Popular Culture & Society, and Independent Study in Sociology of Gender and Transgender Studies.
Last book read: “In the Shadow of the Banyan” by Vaddey Ratner
Favorite quote: “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity, or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” —Paulo Freire, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: I can’t think of a single fictional character I’d like to be. I prefer my real life to anything fictional. But in terms of historical figures, I would enjoy spending a day in the life of W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963), American Sociologist and social reformer.
What makes teaching fun: Both the students and teaching subjects I’m passionate about make it fun!
What do you do for fun? I like to hike, swim, and travel.
It was September 17, 1787. Presided over by George Washington, 39 of 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention gathered for the last time in Philadelphia to sign the document they had created.
Now, 228 years later, the United States Constitution (with its seven articles and 27 amendments) is still the supreme law governing our country. A federal observance commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution, and is celebrated each year on September 17.
Keuka College will mark Constitution Day, Thursday, Sept. 17 with a panel discussion. Free and open to the public, it runs from 4:30-6 p.m. in Hegeman Hall room 109.
Dr. Chris Leahy, professor of history, and Linda Park, director of Lightner Library, along with students taking Constitutional Law with Dr. Angela Narasimhan, assistant professor of political science, will make up the panel.
“The purpose of our panel is to educate the audience on how the Constitution has changed, and the tension between having an enduring original document vs. one that reflects the political issues of the present day,” said Dr. Narasimhan.
According to Dr. Narasimhan, the panel will also discuss the Constitution and amendments that address current political issues.
“Some possible amendments include term limits for Congress and Supreme Court justices, so that they can’t stay in office forever and there is greater representation; limits on campaign spending; allowing foreign-born naturalized presidents; and eliminating the Electoral College,” added Dr. Narasimhan.
Created in 2004, Constitution Day, later named Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, is typically observed each September 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia.
America’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, was ratified in 1781, a time when the nation was a loose confederation of states, each operating like independent countries. The national government was comprised of a single legislature, the Congress of the Confederation; there was no president or judicial branch.
At the 1787 convention, delegates devised a plan for a stronger federal government with three branches—executive, legislative and judicial—along with a system of checks and balances to ensure no single branch would have too much power. The Bill of Rights—10 amendments guaranteeing basic individual protections such as freedom of speech and religion—became part of the Constitution in 1791.
To read the entire United States Constitution, or learn more about Constitution Day, click here.