This election season, a number of young people are running for local office in D.C. One undergraduate seeking office may set a mark as the youngest openly gay person elected to public office in the United States.
Craig Cassey is a 20-year-old Georgetown student running unopposed for an Advisory Neighborhood Commission seat. He says his candidacy shows the change in his community.
"Just even six years ago, on campus we had these assaults committed towards students who were even just percieved to be lesbian or gay," says Cassey. "If I do end up winning my commissioner seat, it will really speak to the evolution that Georgetown has undergone these past few years."
A spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Victory fund, a political action committee for LGBT candidates, says the group isn't aware of anyone as young as Cassey being elected.
Cassey says he wants to become a role model and advocate for other young LGBT people.
"I didn't have anyone who was openly gay on my track team or in my high school community, but I had members of sports teams who I thought were potentially gay that were closeted. And that gave me so much hope as an athlete," says Cassey. "That made me feel as if I could do it, that I could run to the best of my potential, that I could be the person I want to be."
But Cassey says the issues he wants to tackle as an advisory neighorhood commissioner go beyond advocacy for one particular group.
"My first main goal would be to reunite the currently divided communities that exist between Georgetown and Burleith," he says. "Both the student community and the residential community that lives nearby the university, they view each other as very at odd communities, but in reality so many of our interests are one in the same."
As for the future, Cassey says it's too soon to start making big plans. He's just working to get elected first.
Ashley Dejean is a student at American University. WAMU is licensed to American University.