Will Haskell defeats Toni Boucher in race for 26th state Senate

Will Haskell defeats Toni Boucher in race for 26th state Senate

Staples graduate Will Haskell ’11 defeated Republican incumbent Toni Boucher in the 26th Senate District on Nov. 6, turning the district blue for the first time in 45 years. According to The Hour, Haskell earned 53.3 percent of the vote.

Many students who do not share the same political views as Haskell were excited to see this change for the 26th District. Olivia Utter ’19, president of the Young Republicans club, felt inspired to see someone so young win this race.

“I’m not a huge fan of his policies, but I think as a local politician, he’s excellent,” Utter said. “I hope that this will bring more people to Connecticut, which will help our economy grow.”

Inspired by Trump’s election, Haskell delayed his plans of attending law school to ensure his beliefs were adequately represented in politics. “There’s so much at stake,” Haskell said to the Hartford Courant, “especially for young people. It’s Hartford’s job to defend residents from the administration.”

Haskell received a degree in Political Science from Georgetown University in May 2018 and announced his candidacy during his senior year of college. Running on a platform of  stricter gun legislation and reliable funding for transportation and infrastructure, he hopes to represent the voices of America’s youth and inspire change within his community.

“This campaign started with the crazy idea to challenge someone who has been in Hartford as long as I’ve been alive,” Haskell said in his victory speech. “Every generation deserves a seat at the table and no one is entitled to another term because they’ve been there a long time.”

Lydia Donovan ’19, who worked as an intern for Haskell’s campaign, feels that he takes the time to listen to the concerns of high schoolers, understanding that legislation has an impact on those who cannot vote themselves.

“I think that his age helps the younger generation feel heard in our government,” Donovan said.

Although he may not have as much experience as other representatives, Donovan believes that Haskell’s ability to listen to the voices of others is experience in itself.

“You can tell Will is engaged in the conversation he’s in no matter who is talking to him,” she said.

Haskell is filling a seat that has been occupied by Republicans since the 1970s. According to Donovan, preparing for this election was no small task.

“I think that all the work we did to get Will’s name out across the district really helped,” she said.  “Name recognition is everything.”

Haskell ran an extensive campaign, hosting over 100 meet-and-greets and knocking on thousands of doors in preparation for the election. Sam Laskin ’20, an intern for Haskell’s campaign and president of the Young Democrats club, believes Haskell’s successes in connecting with voters is evident through the results of the election.

“Will’s motivation and inner drive are incredible,” Laskin said. “When you speak to that many people at their doors, at events and at meet-and-greets every day, you are bound to be in touch with what the district wants.”

Prior to running for state Senate, Haskell worked on the campaigns of many elected officials, including Representative Jim Himes and Senator Chris Murphy. Haskell received endorsements from both Murphy and former president Barack Obama.

From the support Haskell has gained from elected officials, members of his community and the nation at large, he believes he has learned immensely from his campaign for state Senate.

“If you put yourself out there, if you take a big risk in the hopes of making your community a little bit better,” Haskell said in his speech, “you won’t stand alone.”