Youthful Rep. Speaks at Boylston

At twenty-five, Barry Finegold is younger than most of the voters he represents.

So it rang true last night when Finegold, Massachusetts' youngest state representative, talked about his commitment to connecting with "Generation Xers" at an informal discussion in Boylston Hall.

Finegold said his young campaign team helped his cause--although he did have to work to appeal to older voters.

"You can't look like you're 25," Finegold (D-Andover) said, noting that his campaign managers asked him to wear a suit, tie, trenchcoat and glasses in order to appear more mature.

At the Institute of Politics' weekly "Pizza and Politics" discussion, Finegold fielded questions and peppered the audience with a few of his own. He asked the more than 30 students whether they had voted in the recent election and whether any of the candidates had excited them.


Finegold listed the environment, education and the economy as "Generation X" issues, and said the main cause of political apathy among young people is "the lack of connection between the candidates and the people of our generation."

"I'm not surprised at the lack of involvement because there's no connection," he said.

Finegold said he believes this connection will happen by the time members of "Generation X" enter their 30s and 40s.

"When you finally do settle down, you have a stake in what's going on," he said. "You're concerned about taxes, your kid's education, whether you'll have a job tomorrow. And you'll vote."

Finegold also discussed the tactics he used to win election, saying he focused his campaign on what he read in local newspapers and on what he learned from knocking on doors and talking to people.

"My issues came from people's mouths," he said.

But when Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) came up in the conversation, Finegold said he admired politicians who voted their conscience at the risk of alienating constituents. Wellstone was the only senator up for re-election this year to vote against welfare reform.

Participants said they enjoyed the ., from page 1discussion.

"I thought it was very inspiring," said Sarah K. Hurwitz '99. "I was most impressed that there were certain issues he'd be willing to give up his seat for. I think that's a kind of nobility you don't see in politics very often."

Ben J. B. Allen '00 also said the evening was "inspiring."

"[Finegold] presents a positive model for young people interested in political issues out of genuine interest and concern, not for their own egos," he said.

Finegold said he doesn't mind being the representative of a generation.

"There are plenty of other 'me's' out there," he said. "I just encourage other young people to get involved.

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