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.
Tom Drumm is off and running.
The Oswego native and and newly minted degree holder from Keuka College announced his candidacy for the 16th District seat on the Oswego County Legislature a few days before joining the College’s alumni ranks.
Drumm credits the education he received at Keuka College, both in the classroom and out, for preparing him for all the challenges a political campaign and holding public office offers. Among the Field Periods™ Drumm conducted were ones in the regional office of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and with the New York State Democratic Committee.
In this interview on Keuka College Today, hosted by Executive Director of Grants, Governmental Relations, and Compliance Doug Lippincott on WFLR (Dundee, Finger Lakes Radio Network), Drumm also outlines his grassrooots campaign strategy and talks about his love of politics and why he believes “youthful leadership can shake up the status quo in local government.”
With the recent defeat of incumbent Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, the Republican Party will hold 54 Senate seats–a net gain of nine–in the next Congress.The midterm elections also saw the Republicans increase their advantage in the House of Representatives and add to their lead in governorships.
What were the reasons behind the GOP’s dominating performance?
To answer that question and others, Doug Lippincott, executive director of grants, governmental relations, and compliance invited Associate Professor of History Chris Leahy to be his guest on the December edition of Keuka College Today, which airs on WFLR (Dundee).
Leahy,who regularly appears on the show, talks about the obvious and not so obvious reasons behind the GOP’s big win and what it could mean for President Obama’s final two years in the White House. He also opines on what impact the midterm elections will have on the Tea Party, and while he weighs in on a possible Clinton-Bush rematch in 2016 (Hillary and Jeb, that is), he also offers up a somewhat surprising prediction for the GOP standard-bearer in 2016.
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the second in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2013.
Josh Beaver ’13 of West Terra Haute, Ind., graduated with a degree in political science and history and will pursue a dual master’s degree in American history and historical administration from Eastern Illinois University (EIU) in Charleston, Ill. While he pursues his degree, Beaver will also hold down a customer service- based job in telecommunications at Alorica, Inc.
During his time at Keuka, Beaver was heavily involved in a number of campus clubs and organizations, including Student Senate, Chemistry Club, President’s Leadership Council and served as a member of the Spiritual Life Advisory Board, on two Alternative Spring Break mission trips, and on the steering committee for Keuka’s annual day of community service, Celebrate Service … Celebrate Yates (CSCY).
“I value the opportunities that Keuka gave me, and taught me about: the environment, that change is not always a bad thing, the hard work ethic and dedication to yourself, to always do your best,” Beaver said. “My coursework taught me how to be flexible, how to pick up on patterns (mainly things that have already happened and how they can be improved on), and also how to analyze and adjust with what works and doesn’t work.”
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of features on recipients of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students pursuing culturally-oriented Field Periods.
For senior Diane DePrez, her interest in Germany began when she was in high school.
“We had exchange students from Germany come to our school, and I always wanted to learn more about the culture of a country that—on the outside—seems so similar to our own,” said DePrez, a resident of Fairport. “It has such a rich history and I am curious about so many things.”
DePrez is satisfying her curiosity this month during a Field Period in Deutschland.
“Many people are under the misconception that Germany is all about the two World Wars,” said DePrez before she left for Germany. “This is something I would like to dispel. As a political science and history major, I am especially interested in how Germany’s history and political system have affected its modern culture. One of the ways I will learn about these is to talk to Germans about their country’s history.”
DePrez’s itinerary called for a trip to Museum Island, so called for the complex of five internationally significant museums—all part of the Berlin State Museums—that occupy the island’s northern half.
“While in Germany, I will stay in hostels, which I have been told is a good way to meet people from all over the world,” said DePrez. “One goal while conducting my Field Period is to immerse myself in German culture and to see how it compares to America. I will travel throughout Berlin and Potsdam, and tour many sites significant to German culture and history.”
DePrez says this Field Period “will provide me with the opportunity to learn more about Germany’s history through guided tours, as well as visiting museums and historic sites,” she said. “One of the places I will visit is the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a damaged tower that is a symbol of Berlin’s resolve to rebuild the city after World War II and a reminder of the destruction of war.”
Added DePrez: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am excited to learn all I can from the people, food, and culture of Berlin.”