Andy van Wye loved AP US Government, every history class he took, and all his math classes. He played center on the football team, making it to playoffs that year. He graduated in 2009, and now he’s running for the Maryland House of Delegates.
Social studies teacher Nia Cresham asked van Wye to come in to speak to the AP US Government classes during their campaign unit, which he did Nov. 2 during lunch. Cresham’s intent was to show students that people in real life follow the campaign process learned in class.
This effect was felt by freshman Katherine Sohn. “It was a nice real-world application to what we were learning,” Sohn said.
Cresham said that she invited van Wye not only to help students understand that everything learned in class is directly applicable to real life, but also to inspire them to be politically active. “I want people to feel empowered like they can go out and run [for office] just like [van Wye]’s doing,” she said.
Van Wye also supports young people getting involved in the political process, citing the debt that new Republican tax plan will create as an example of young people being under-represented. “We’re going to be paying off interest on that debt probably for the rest of our lives and that’s unacceptable and young people need to take a stand and support issues that are important to them today, tomorrow, and 20 years from now.”
Post-high school, Van Wye graduated in three and a half years from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science. Then, he interned for various PACs and politicians including for former President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. Following that, he was a direct mail consultant for three different organizations. Most recently, Van Wye was a legislative reporter at Congressional Quarterly magazine. Of this experience he said, “CQ is one of the top reasons I’m confident I can be a good legislator and it’s because of how much it taught me about policy.”
However, van Wye looks forward instead of back on his past accomplishments: “What this is really about isn’t what we’ve done in the past it’s about how we’re going to affect change in the future.”
Van Wye’s primary policies are relating to education, healthcare and economic equality. In fact, Cresham invited him to speak when he visited his high school teachers over the summer to “figure out what they need from the Maryland State House in order to improve the schools, to give [students] a better education.”
Van Wye intends to increase education funding, establish universal Pre-K, and increase teacher wages and autonomy.
Van Wye also has a healthcare plan to reduce premiums and get more people covered. In terms of economic equality, van Wye wants to adjust Maryland’s ‘equal pay for equal work’ legislation, changing it from grievance-based, where a woman has to sue in court to get equal pay, to requiring companies to prove that they are offering equal pay for equal work. “That’s the best way to end the wage gap,” van Wye said.