IWU Student Senate President Takes National Office
August 20, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Rising Illinois Wesleyan junior and current Student Senate President
Brexton Isaacs, Class of 2015, was elected to the 2013-14 National Executive Board
of College Democrats as National Council Vice Chair during the group’s conference
at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, August 3.
Under his new title, Isaacs will work with the College Democrats on a national scale
by helping chapters and state federations prepare for the 2014 midterm elections.
In particular, he will work to start new chapters and state federations in places
that are likely to face a competitive congressional, senate or gubernatorial race.
Isaacs will continue to serve as Vice President to the College Democrats of Illinois
in the upcoming school year. In Illinois, he will be working to establish new chapters
on college campuses that are lacking a College Democrats chapter by traveling to their
registered student organization fairs to recruit students to establish new organizations.
He will help the group target the Illinois state-wide races, particularly for governor,
treasurer and comptroller, as well as the 13th Congressional District where IWU is
located. He will also lead the College Democrats in a phone bank at IWU this fall
for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, for which Isaacs designed the
Students for McAulliffe logo.
Isaacs’s double major in political science and business administration was a product
of his own self-discovery. He was elected as a leader in the Boy Scouts at a young
age and has involved himself in student government since sixth grade, eventually serving
as Byron High School’s Student Council President.
Isaacs attributes his interest in politics and affiliation with the Democratic Party
largely to his experience at a 2009 conference with the Congressional Youth Leadership
Council in Washington, D.C. He signed up to attend the event two years prior to his
sophomore year in high school with the understanding that he would be attending the
Presidential Inauguration. As it turned out, Isaacs had the opportunity to witness
history in the making with President Obama’s first inauguration. This, Isaacs said,
brought his uncanny love for politics to an all-time high.
“I feel it’s important to keep breaking down the societal barriers, whether it be
with minority candidates, women candidates, or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) candidates,” Isaacs said. “It’s very exciting to be on the forefront of change.”
Isaacs met Vice President Joe Biden
during the 2012 presidential campaign.
It was also inspiring for Isaacs to witness his favorite politician, Vice President
Joe Biden, take office and have the opportunity to personally meet him. He admires
Biden for his honest personality and devotion to his family.
This past July, Tori Taylor, then president of the College Democrats of America invited
Isaacs to personally meet President Obama. While the president was speaking in Galesburg
at Knox College on July 24, Isaacs was given a reserved seat with Governor Pat Quinn,
Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos
(Isaacs’s employer at the time), Senator Claire McCaskill and White House Press Secretary
Jay Carney. Following the President’s speech, those in reserved seating were given
the opportunity to have a personal meet and greet with President Obama.
Despite his passion for the politics, Isaacs does not consider himself a politician,
but rather he prefers more behind-the-scenes work. Since his first job working on
the Byron School Board Race in 2011 during high school, Isaacs has found his niche.
He has worked on various campaigns throughout the state, including Congressional races
for Congresswoman Bustos (Illinois District 17) and candidate David Gill in 2012 as
well as IWU Professor of Political Science and Mayor of Bloomington, Tari Renner’s
mayoral campaign in 2013.
“I’ve always enjoyed the fast-paced, always changing side of a campaign,” Isaacs said.
“In politics, you’re never going to have the same day twice.”
While serving as Student Senate Treasurer and President of the IWU College Democrats
his sophomore year, Isaacs used his campaigning skills to help the College Democrats
“Get Out the Vote” in the recent 2012 election. He and many other students chalked
sidewalks, put up posters, made over 2,000 phone calls to Bloomington-Normal students
and even asked students personally to follow them to the polls at Hansen Student Center.
The result was 800 voters – 40 percent of the IWU campus. According to Isaacs, national
averages for college campuses generally fall around 25 percent. Thanks to the efforts
of passionate students like Isaacs, IWU surpassed both the University of Illinois
at Urbana- Champaign and Illinois State University in total percentage of student
voters and claimed the highest percentage of voter turnout in the state.
In the midst of the 2012 presidential race, Isaacs was running for Student Senate
President, making November more hectic than normal for an IWU student – even for someone
in politics. He was elected and took office that December. Since then, he has finalized
the Student Senate Capitol Development Project for the Hansen Student Center, which
added a new lounge near Hattie’s Coffee Shop, a new sound and lighting system, new
high-top chairs and tables, a refurbished television lounge and a taller stage area
for better visibility.
In light of this project, Isaacs said, “I’m inspired by the ongoing process of seeing
students realize that this is their campus and that they must become empowered to
do things to enhance it.”
Isaacs feels that it’s important to commit to learning transferable skills inside
and outside of politics. In addition to his political positions, he is a resident
assistant in Dodds Hall, a Titan Orientation Leader and a brother in the professional
business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi.
During the school year, Isaacs often finds himself staying in most nights and weekends
to accomplish the many tasks necessary to fulfill his duties and to complete his schoolwork.
When he does find time for fun, he enjoys going to see horror movies and playing Risk
with his friends. Nevertheless, Isaacs finds fulfillment in his busy schedule.
“It’s a rewarding experience,” he said. “I find that my friends are often people I
work with. Going to a Student Senate meeting might be work, but it’s also a social
experience for me.”
When he graduates in May 2015, Isaacs looks forward to joining a campaign for the
2016 elections. He particularly enjoys working for strong female candidates and would
love to have the opportunity to support such a candidate in the next election.
As he passes on his Student Senate President title in December, Isaacs will study
at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. for the spring semester. He hopes to leave
an impression on IWU students to remember that people matter. He believes that Americans
should strive to make sure that everyone has a quality life, and that those basic
necessities like healthcare and education will never be considered unattainable luxuries
for anyone who is willing to work for them.
“I’m most passionate about making things better for other people,” said Isaacs.
Contact: Hannah Dhue ’15 (309) 556-3181, email@example.com