Like many other Assumption seniors, Greg Agnew juggles a full load. With classes, homework, and extracurriculars, it’s hard to find time for anything else. In Agnew’s case, add in a political campaign and it’s a whole different story.
Last spring, the political science major ran for selectman in his hometown of Westwood, Mass, running against competitors twice his age, winning his own precinct, and gaining the attention of more than 2,800 registered voters.
For Agnew, it wasn’t a question of age, something that Assumption professor Peter Schultz helped him realize inside and out of the classroom. “Professor Schultz is the best,” Agnew said. “He really made me understand that you can change things the way they are as long as you put yourself out there. He gave me the message that it’s okay to run for an office whenever you want, because you’re always qualified, and you’re going to have something that no one else is going to be able to bring to the table.”
Agnew’s run for selectman was one of three campaigns he has been involved in since enrolling at Assumption in 2005. At the start of his sophomore year, he managed the campaign of Westwood Town Clerk Dottie Powers. “That was my first management job, doing everything,” he said. With Agnew running the campaign, Powers beat the incumbent by a margin of two votes to one.
After running for selectman the following year, Agnew directed the campaign of Democratic challenger Ed O’Reilly against four-term United States Senator John Kerry during the 2008 primary elections. O’Reilly garnered 33 percent of the vote despite being outspent 10 to one. “I was probably the youngest field director you could ever have,” Agnew said. “I traveled the entire state, put 10,000 miles on my car. It was fun.”
In his four years at Assumption, Agnew has been a senator in the Student Government Association, an online editor for the student newspaper Le Provocateur, a contributor to the school’s literary publication The Phoenix, as well as a member of the College Democrats of America.
He says the individual attention he has had in Assumption’s close-knit community has helped prepare him for life post-graduation. “It’s a smaller school atmosphere and it really prepares you because you get so much more attention, and you get your questions answered so much faster than you would at a huge school.”
After graduation, Agnew expects to return to work full-time at Schortmann Insurance Agency, Inc., in Dedham, Mass, where he has worked for the past two years. He also has plans to run for selectman again, even with the toll a campaign can take on a young candidate. “You say to yourself, ‘I didn’t realize this would give me some gray hair at 21,’” he said. “But, I’m definitely going to run [again] and then probably look statewide after that.”