by ELYSIA COLON
Have you ever wondered how politicians are able to afford their luxurious lives or their many trips around the country? Money plays a huge role in politics, which can sometimes result in mass corruption or contribute to the stories often discussed by the media. However, without the sponsorship of affluent donors or large corporations, many politicians would be unable to afford the long and emotionally draining campaign process.
Numerous Oceanside High School students, including members of the World Interest Club, have been given the opportunity to work alongside State Senator Todd Kaminsky’s campaign team. Despite personal political beliefs, participation in any campaign can teach students management and communication skills, lessons that can be applied to everyday life or even future careers. Senator Todd Kaminsky is currently running as the Democratic nominee for reelection in New York State, with his region including Oceanside and Rockville Centre. He has secured over twenty million dollars for Nassau county education and has supported a property tax cap on Long Island. Additionally, Todd Kaminsky served as a federal prosecutor for many years, and continues to fight corruption on a daily basis. One of the opportunities provided to me while working with the campaign team was greeting and hanging coats at one of Kaminsky’s fundraisers. Despite popular belief, this task was surprisingly interesting.
Only one volunteer was able to go and since I was the first one to respond to an email sent by the campaign manager, I was chosen to help. The fundraiser took place at the Ritz Carlton Club House on October 17th, which happened to be a fairly warm day, considering the time and month at least. Although my initial task was to hang coats for the guests, none of the guests brought coats with them so I was reassigned to greeting everyone and directing them towards the sign in sheet, operated by other volunteers. The building where the fundraiser event was being held was nicely decorated and there were snacks and refreshments in the main room. After everyone had arrived, I was then able to listen to the guest of Honor, Governor Cuomo, introduce Senator Kaminsky and give a speech. He spoke about tax cuts and New York State economic policies. He told stories about his childhood and father, and he later joked with the audience about familial competition.
As someone who had never been to a campaign fundraiser before, it was shocking to see so many wealthy and powerful individuals in one room. They wrote large checks with much ease and spent the evening talking to one another and drinking or eating at tables covered with long golden tablecloths. I also got to hear stories of those working with the campaign or allies of Kaminsky which was equally as interesting. Overall, the fundraiser was an excellent and rewarding experience, and I am more than glad that I was given the opportunity to go.