A Dartmouth undergrad, a legislator – and a voice for students

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.

Muscatel moves his belongings into his dorm for the start of summer-session classes at Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H.

Muscatel leaves the New Hampshire State House during a break in session in Concord.

Muscatel in session in the General Court at the State House.

Muscatel takes a seat at his Engineering 2: Integrated Design class at Dartmouth.

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.”

Caroline Casey, top right, greets Muscatel, seated, at lunch on campus.

Muscatel, center, greets fellow representatives before session in Concord.

Muscatel walks underground from the State House to a meeting room during a break in session.

Muscatel walks to class.

“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.”

Muscatel has dinner at his boyfriend's off-campus home.

Muscatel attends an ice cream social for representatives at the State House.

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.

Muscatel in session in the General Court at the State House.

Muscatel, top row second from left, and Caroline Casey, top row second from right, attend a Hanover Democrats meeting in Hanover.

Muscatel has dinner with friends in Hanover.

Muscatel and State Rep. Willis Griffith, left, during a meeting of the Young Democrats Caucus during a lunch break in session.

As Muscatel enters his senior year, he looks forward to graduating next June, and shortly thereafter concluding the state legislative session.

Muscatel leaves the State House during a break in session.