CT college student running for state Senate
Posted April 27, 2018 7:23 p.m. EDT
Hartford, CT — College students usually think about studying and exams, but a UConn freshman is also focused on a political career.
Tyler Flanigan is a full-time student, but he's also running for state Senate.
Flanigan is only 19 and he's also focused and ambitious.
He's one of three college students running in the 9th District, which shows young people may be more interested in politics than you may think.
"I've got to get involved at home because if we don't turn the tide in 2018 I am not going afford to live here, not going to be able to start a family here," Flanigan said.
Flanigan doesn't look like your average college student, he wears a lot of suits.
That's because when he isn't at the UConn campus in Hartford, he's out campaigning and visiting businesses.
"I said 'what can I do for you, can you tell me what your current legislators aren't doing,'" Flanigan said.
He became interested in politics at the age of 14. He's worked on a few campaigns and even had his own fundraising company for political candidates.
He's now running on his own for the Senate seat vacated by Paul Doyle who wants to be Attorney General.
Flanigan's democratic challenger is Tony Guerrera, a nine-term state representative.
When asked about Flanigan, Guerrera says "it's great to see young people in a race. It gives people a chance to meet the candidates, this is what a democracy is."
Guerrera has been a supporter of tolls, saying the state can't keep putting off projects and letting roads and bridges deteriorate.
Flanigan says he's against tolls, calling it another tax.
He says he got the political bug from his grandfather who was active in Wethersfield, but there are glaring differences. His granddad was a democrat and Flanigan feels the GOP gets a bad rap.
"We have seen a demonization of Republicans a little bit. To be honest, there's a lot of stuff I don't like about Trump but every politician, you can't please everyone, there's going to be something you don't like," Flanigan said.
Flanigan feels what's made campaigning easier is social media.
Younger candidates are accessible, cell phones, emails, and he's working on raising 15,000 individual donations to get public financing.