Student Running For District 27 Senate Seat

North Dakota State student Quinn Garrick was nominated as well as endorsed for the District 27 Senate seat as a Democratic candidate on Feb. 3. A conversation that started as a joke about running for office turned into a “why not” mentality, with Garrick now nominated and running.

Garrick, a junior majoring in political science and economics, is looking forward to being a voice for the younger generation.

Garrick is originally from Anoka, Minnesota. He describes Minnesota as a diverse state with a strong economy, as well as a phenomenal education system, so he hopes to use that to his advantage.

One would think running for a Senate seat while in college would negatively affect classwork, but Garrick said otherwise. He explained that he has a flexible schedule and people have been supportive while helping out while he has been getting his campaign up and running.

Erin Kitzman, who is married to Jon Kitzman, the District 27 Democratic House candidate, nominated Garrick. Garrick believes she did this because he has been attending district meetings and she believes he would be a good fit for state legislator since he had announced for the House position, but then the Senate seat was brought up with his name.

Garrick has also had a lot of support from other candidates and other officials during his campaign.

When it comes to Garrick’s young age, many think it would bring a negative connotation, although others see it as an opportunity.

“I think I’ve seen some hesitation from people, and I think that’s because of my youth and the fact that I’m just in college right now, but there’s also a positive twist to it and people see it as having a new perspective and just having something different,” Garrick said. He continued to explain that he sees North Dakota trying to add something different, especially in the Democratic Party in Cass County.

Garrick sees his youth as a voice for the people these policies will be affecting. “A new perspective and just a new voice for a population that specifically underrepresented, which is students and young people,” Garrick explained.

Garrick has a background of political aspects — especially within his family where they helped run campaigns such as John Kerry’s in 2004. He also has a very large network. For example, his aunt was the vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) in Minnesota.

Garrick is more interested in public policies, specifically the development and implementation of policy. He’s always been interested in public office but planned for it later in life. It started as a joke about running for office, because of the open seats, but has since turned into the campaign that is today.

Quinn Garrick| Photo Courtesy
Quinn Garrick is a college student and running for office, all at once.

Bjorn Skogquist, the 22-year-old who was elected mayor of Anoka, Minnesota, inspires Garrick.

“When people always say that young people don’t get involved in politics or young people can’t get elected into office, I always kind of question that because I saw him get elected as a 22-year-old for mayor, and like to me young people being involved in politics and being in office was never an anomaly or a phenomenon — it was normal,” Garrick said.

Garrick never saw running for office as an obstacle until now where he sees that it is not as common. “Seeing that young people don’t always get the most traction when they’re trying to run, but I do think young people getting involved in politics is important, especially if the policies are going to be affecting later generations. It’s important to have that voice in there,” Garrick said.

He is looking to change two major policies — education and economics.

“For economics, it’s really about diversifying our economy in this state, especially because our state relies specifically on oil and agriculture. It’s really hard to sustain an economy like that because if one fails the other one gets the pressure put on it. And then big cities like Fargo and Grand Forks, we’ll have to take in all the unemployed, which Fargo already has a low unemployment, so it’s already at a labor shortage right now,” Garrick shared.

“For education, it’s about modernizing, so bringing in technology and a modern curriculum, especially in our modern schools. If you look at Davies, which is pretty new for the Fargo area, they have a lot of modern technology and a new curriculum, and so we need to see that in our rural schools as well because I think they’re getting left behind,” Garrick explained.

People feel as though they are too young for office, but Garrick shared some advice for those thinking about the option: “People are always excited for young people getting involved even though it is a barrier at times. People always love to see young people involved in politics whether it is as a candidate or volunteering.”

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