By Colin MacDougall
A former Washtenaw Community College student has taken up politics as a profession. Steve Kwasny, a WCC 2015 alumnus, is running for the 53rd District State Representative position in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Kwasny, a 28-year-old from Ann Arbor, currently studies political science at Eastern Michigan University.
“I got into politics about three years ago, coming here to WCC,” said Kwasny.
Kwasny attended WCC from late 2012 to 2015, obtaining a liberal arts degree. “It says liberal arts, but I took as many political science, philosophy and history courses (as I could),” Kwasny said.
During his time here, Kwasny started the Political Science Club. Kwasny felt that a good way to be active in the community is to be active in a political group. So he rounded up some students and faculty members to begin the club.
“I remember Steve as a very thoughtful and conscientious young man. It was while taking my American government class that he spearheaded the creation of WCC’s Political Science club,” said political science instructor Francisco Sanchez. “His sense of pragmatism and caring for others suits him well for public office. Mature beyond his years is a fitting way to describe him. It is admirable that he wants to run for office after learning not only how the system is supposed to work, but also the realism of political life.”
Dr. Will Teague, behavioral science instructor and faculty member of the human services work program, also had Kwasny as a student. He first reached out to Teague through emails when he decided to begin the PSC. Kwasny then took one of Teague’s group dynamics classes.
“(Kwasny) is a fantastic student who worked well with others on collaboration. Specifically within the context of a group class, it can be very difficult to work with all the conflicting personality types,” Teague said. “He would do a phenomenal job of reaching out to any of his constituents and they’d be lucky to have him as a State Representative.”
Through the volunteering Kwasny did with PSC, he earned the 2015 Volunteer of the year award from the Washtenaw Democratic Party.
Kwasny is concerned deeply with environmental and education issues.
“I want our state to start thinking about the future, I want us to start investing more money in clean energy,” said Kwasny.
He also plans to run on the platform of getting “big money” out of politics. Kwasny is doing this by not accepting any donations in his run for office. He feels Michigan lacks transparency due to corporations buying into elections.
“I hope to at least be an example that it’s possible to run a campaign without money,” Kwasny said.
The 53rd District seat is currently held by Jeff Irwin (Ann Arbor-D), who cannot run due to term limits. Kwasny will be campaigning to the 92,000 constituents of Ann Arbor’s district, many of whom are University of Michigan students, until the August Democratic primary.