Garret Graves rallies students to work for campaign

FROM The Daily Reveille, 09/08/14 Share Share

by Savanah Dickinson
The Daily Reveille

Garret Graves is encouraging students to help him run for Congress in Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District. Graves spoke to a crowd of about 30 students in the Business Education Complex on Sunday, encouraging them to intern for his campaign.

Graves said University students are an important demographic because they are idealists and have the desire to change the world.

“I want to give you an opportunity to get involved and take that energy, to take that desire, to take that drive that you have to change the world, to be idealistic, because I still am,” Graves said.

With the prevalence of social media, his campaign needs the help of young voters. Graves is building a social media network to reach out to young voters, utilizing Facebook and Twitter.

Graves said he wants his interns to speak to their friends about the campaign, creating a snowball effect on campus to engage other students. Graves’ campaign manager Kevin Roig and political director Ryan Lambert spoke about what an internship with the Graves campaign entails.

“Our main focus is on voter contact,” Lambert said.

Lambert said the next phase of the campaign is knocking on doors and surveying potential voters. He said the Graves campaign has been active in every parish in of the congressional district, and he foresees Graves campaigning in every precinct in the district.

Graves told students he never intended to run for political office, and he enjoyed working behind the scenes.

Over the last year, Louisiana residents began asking Graves to run for Congress because of his work with his family’s small business and time spent as chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana under Gov. Bobby Jindal.

“I love the outdoors. I love Louisiana,” Graves said.

Graves emphasized the importance of electing a candidate who understands how vital maritime commerce and the oil and gas industry are to Louisiana.

“We have to send people [to Washington, D.C.] that understand the fundamental aspects of our state,” Graves said.

Graves began his experience in Washington, D.C., as an intern while attending Louisiana Tech University.

He intended to stay in D.C. for one month, but one month turned into 12 years.

“Congress is the best place to figure out what you want to do,” Graves said.

During his time in D.C., Graves said he realized his passion for serving his home state.

“We need people that know Louisiana,” Graves said.

Graves’ humble beginnings also encouraged him to run for office.

Graves said he grew up in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home in Baton Rouge with four siblings who shared two beds. They spent numerous summers eating ramen noodles and Spam.

“My father worked his butt off to achieve his version of the American dream,” Graves said.