As a junior at Dartmouth with a full course load, Garrett Muscatel did not think twice when he decided to run for office. He knew he wanted to be politically involved, from the moment he attended Barack Obama’s first inauguration when he was in elementary school. In 2012, he became a volunteer on Obama’s reelection campaign. In 2016, he was a campaign worker for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and watched her narrowly win the state, even as she lost the general election. It was the same year that Democrat Maggie Hassan defeated Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) by just over 1,000 votes.
Since arriving in Hanover, Muscatel has witnessed steady efforts by the GOP that could limit the participation of young voters in future elections. He decided that to see immediate results, he needed to be part of the legislature himself. Last fall, Muscatel became a state representative for Hanover after defeating his Republican opponent, who happened to also be a fellow Dartmouth student.
A carefully woven schedule allows Muscatel to balance attending both classes and the legislative session in the same week. While there can be hectic moments, he believes in the payoff of his efforts. “I knew what I was getting myself into. And I knew that I wanted the chance to serve in the legislature to make a difference.”
“A big part of my goal was to set a precedent that there should be student representation in Concord. I want there to be a Dartmouth student after me that takes my place.”
New Hampshire state legislators earn a $200 salary for the two-year term. “A large part of the value of serving the legislature is to show our desire to be involved,” said Muscatel.
As Muscatel enters his senior year, he looks forward to graduating next June, and shortly thereafter concluding the state legislative session.