The Southern Gazette - - Community -

Jordan Brown knew he had an up­hill bat­tle to­wards a seat in the New­found­land and Labrador’s House of As­sem­bly.

Brown, 29, was up against Lib­eral cab­i­net min­is­ter Gra­ham Letto in the May 16 elec­tion, in a dis­trict his New Demo­cratic Party had won twelve years be­fore.

Ac­cord­ing to Statis­tics Canada, around 20 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion of the dis­trict is un­der 35.

He had to use ev­ery ad­van­tage he had to make a cred­i­ble shot for the seat. One of those ad­van­tages was 20-year-old Nathan Hall.

Brown says he gave Hall one job on his cam­paign: get young peo­ple out to vote.

“That’s all I told him to do. Just the young peo­ple. Go look af­ter the young peo­ple and make sure they get out to vote,” said Brown.

“When the polls opened, to the polls’ close, he was mak­ing calls to peo­ple who said they would vote. He was get­ting his friends to call their friends – it was al­most like an old-fash­ioned phone tree.”

On ad­vance polling day, Hall got in his truck and per­son­ally drove as many young peo­ple as he could find to the polling sta­tions.

Brown es­ti­mates that Hall’s ef­forts got 150 out to vote on ad­vance polling day alone.

“Even on elec­tion day, the peo­ple that he couldn’t get on ad­vance day he picked up elec­tion day. Peo­ple that voted on ad­vance day called him on elec­tion day and of­fered their help,” said Brown.

On elec­tion night on May 16, Brown saw his ef­forts and the sig­nif­i­cant ef­forts of Hall pay off. Brown was de­clared the new mem­ber of the House of As­sem­bly by five votes. A ju­di­cial re­count up­held the re­sults, but brought the mar­gin of vic­tory to just two. Brown cred­its Hall’s ef­forts of di­rectly en­gag­ing with young peo­ple in the dis­trict as one of the keys to his nar­row, im­prob­a­ble vic­tory.

Brown says politi­cians need to learn to com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter with young vot­ers to show them just how im­por­tant their bal­lot re­ally is.

“Bring your­self to their level. Talk them to them as they want to be talked to. Bring rel­e­vancy, don’t bom­bard them with facts and fig­ures. Bring a rel­e­vant mes­sage to them,” said Brown.

“Don’t talk down to them, talk to them.”

— David Ma­her

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