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Texas Tech Student Organization Pushes Democratic Party Agenda

This story was written by Hannah Boen, Daily Toreador

It's the day he's been working toward all semester, and Andrew Serrano is feeling confident.

President of the Texas Tech Democrats, Serrano and his crew have been counting down the days to this year's election, when they hope to see their work pay off.

"It's always an interesting time when the job of the leader of the free world is up for grabs," said the junior political science major.

Besides his work with the Tech Democrats, he has spent a large part of this semester volunteering at the Lubbock Democratic Party Headquarters.

Serrano said he was raised around political campaigns. He spent the first 13 years of his life in Hereford, near his grandfather who was very active in local politics. Through his grandfather's work, he realized the impact he could have in local elections.

Serrano took his realization to a personal level when he became the president of the Tech Democrats, an on-campus organization that endorses and volunteers time to democratic candidates on the local and national levels.

Serrano breathed life into the student organization that its Vice President Patrick Murray said was in bad shape after previous officers.

"We had to just restart this semester," said Murray, a junior French major from Lubbock, "because the officers before had let it die."

Murray and Serrano said the group is four-times larger than last semester, and Serrano attributed the attendance to the popularity of this year's democratic presidential candidate.

"When Obama says something," he said, "it resonates with listeners."

Serrano said he has always been liberal and passionate about politics, but his excitement for this year's candidate started with a 2004 Democratic National Convention speech by Obama.

"I realized then that there are really people who care about the greater good," he said, "and he is one of them."

After reading Obama's memoir in 2005, Serrano said he knew the candidate would be president someday, but was not sure when. Although Serrano felt at first that running this year was a little early for the candidate, he said the timing has worked to Obama's benefit.

"Polls lie to an extent," he said, "but you can't ignore he's the front-runner."

Win or lose, Serrano said he and the Tech Democrats will be proud of their efforts in this year's election. A lot of optimistic people, including himself, have been hoping to see Texas go blue this year, but since the state remains red, he said the group has been focusing their efforts on other states.

Serrano's efforts include visits to New Mexico and phone calls to several states, but he said his biggest accomplishment regarding this election is the number of people the Tech Democrats have registered to vote.

For Serrano, satisfaction comes from sending informed voters to the voting booths. He said the Tech Democrats have registered more than 1,000 voters.

Serrano said he feels his group is working on a conservative campus, so his efforts have been geared toward registering and informing voters, and he is proud to get any students to the voting booth.

Although a lot of people are getting involved in this year's election, Serrano said he is not sure they all know the issues, and is still concerned there are students who do not care about the election.

"It's hard not to care with the economy and the war," he said. "Our country is at a crossroads."

The economy and the war are two issues Serrano listed as most important for student voters. He said the economy should be a significant concern for students nearing graduation, and this years election will choose the economic path America will take.

Concerning the war, he said students should be concerned with seeing their friends and fellow students fighting and losing their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, and should examine where they stand on this issue.

Because Tech has made voting so convenient for students, Serrano said he sees no reason for them not to vote, and although he is uncertain about the outcome of votes in Texas, he is encouraged by the work of the Tech Democrats in other states.

He said Obama has changed the electoral map, and is eager to hear Tuesday's results.

While Serrano and Murray agree that they can only do so much regarding the election, they feel they have met the expectations of the group and have really made a difference in Lubbock.

"We've done the best we can and all we can do is watch the returns come in," Murray said. "Sure, we'll be disappointed if Obama doesn't win, but if he does we'll be ecstatic."

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