ASU students staff Tempe City Council campaigns to advocate for student-centric policies

Candidates Lauren Kuby and Sarah Kader both have staffs full of student volunteers

At a time when voter turnout among young people is low, two Tempe City Council candidates have found strong support from ASU students. The two candidates, Lauren Kuby, and Sarah Kader have a staff full of enthusiastic ASU student volunteers running their campaigns. 

The students who volunteer for campaigns say they are willing to give their time to candidates who represent their interests and who prioritize local political involvement.

Kuby and Kader are vying for policies that affect students in Tempe, such as safer bike lanes, shaded areas, better access to transit and affordable housing. 

Kader said that the students working on her campaign are assets, and that they bring enthusiasm to the political process.

Alex Baker, a business data analytics junior who is campaigning for Kader, said he shares her enthusiasm for investing in public transportation throughout the city, including bike lanes.

“I really love her plans on expanding infrastructure here in Tempe," Baker said. "As someone who doesn’t have a car, policies like that will really help someone like me get around."

Baker also thinks that her policies on affordable housing in nearby neighborhoods are also crucial to him as a student. "I’m a first-time renter hopefully by this fall," Baker said. “It’s definitely a hurdle that we are trying to overcome."

“The ASU students working on my campaign are some of the most hardworking, smart, compassionate people I’ve ever met,” Kader said. "I love it. It has been one of the most exciting parts about running for office."

Kuby, a program manager at ASU's Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, also has a handful of student volunteers who she said are crucial to her campaign. Her campaign includes students from ASU's sustainability programs who share her vision for implementing renewable energy standards in Tempe. 

"I've worked with students. I’ve mentored students," Kuby said. "I do that as part of my job. It’s very comfortable to be working with students.”

Zoe Stein, a sustainability graduate student and Kuby’s campaign manager, said she thinks that the opportunities for students to get involved in local politics are "tremendous,” especially in a city like Tempe. Local politics in the city are the "battleground" for doing important work, she said, because Stein and her fellow students feel they are able to push for policies that affect their peers and pilot policies in a smaller environment. 

One of those policies is Kuby's equal pay initiative, which she said affects students directly after they graduate college.

But Stein said students do not have to run campaigns to be involved. It can be as easy as showing up to city council meetings.

“As an ASU student and as a resident of Tempe, I can advocate for policies by showing up to public meetings and submitting public comments and coming up before the council as a whole and let them know where I stand and how they impact my life,” Stein said.

Caroline Burget, a criminal justice and psychology junior, said that it is important for students to get involved because local politics affects the everyday lives of community members. 

"I've gotten closer to my community," she said. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @jay_mistry52 on Twitter.

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