Mike Levin Campaign Recruits Interns to Increase Political Outreach

Deputy+Field+Director+and+Intern+Supervisor+Gehrig+Urbano+makes+phone+calls+to+voters+to+inform+them+of+safe+ways+to+return+their+vote+by+mail+ballots.

Samantha Freeman

Deputy Field Director and Intern Supervisor Gehrig Urbano makes phone calls to voters to inform them of safe ways to return their vote by mail ballots.

Samantha Freeman, Staff Writer

At Congressmember Mike Levin’s campaign, student interns are working around the clock in order to maintain Levin’s seat in the House of Representatives as the spokesperson for the constituents of the 49th district in Southern California. 

Democrat Mike Levin was first elected in 2018, turning Orange County blue for the first time in 18 years. He’s currently up against Republican and Trump supporter Brian Maryott. As an ex-environmental attorney, Levin places a heavy focus on environmental policy, working to address issues such as the Nuclear Waste Disposal Crisis at San Onofre and the California Clean Coast Act. 

The Congressman is also known for his work in veteran’s affairs, gun violence prevention, and protection of the LGBTQ community. Levin is currently working to counter the dismantling of the USPS and to provide aid to Americans during the COVID Pandemic. 

While Levin is in Washington, his campaign team along with interns and volunteers are conducting political outreach to voters in the 49th district that he represents. They make phone calls to constituents daily to promote name recognition and gain votes. 

The Latinx project targets voters that are low propensity voters, who don’t typically get a lot of outreach from political campaigns and tend to turn out at lower rates. The goal is to increase voter turnout amongst Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities in our district. This is to make our campaign more accessible and make sure we are turning out everyone that we possibly can”

— Fu

The campaign’s political outreach doesn’t stop there. DCC Field Manager Olivia Fu is heading the Latinx Community Outreach Project that is designed to extend outreach to Latino communities in the area. 

“The Latinx project targets voters that are low propensity voters, who don’t typically get a lot of outreach from political campaigns and tend to turn out at lower rates. The goal is to increase voter turnout amongst Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities in our district. This is to make our campaign more accessible and make sure we are turning out everyone that we possibly can,” said Fu.  

They are currently in Phase 3 of outreach that involves identifying issues Latinos care about by making issues-based phone calls to English and Spanish speaking constituents in the district. Following phases include creating informational mailers in Spanish, offering organizing workshops in Spanish, initiating voter registration, and making Get Out the Vote (GOTV) calls. 

“Mike is a representative of all his constituents, and we want to be representing everyone. We want to make sure that everyone who can vote has the opportunity to vote and is voting. Latinx outreach is important because, historically, these communities have been ignored by political campaigns. We want to make sure all voices are heard within the district and that all people in this district know that Mike is someone who will represent them and fight for them,” said Fu. 

The campaign’s Deputy Field Director and Intern Supervisor Gehrig Urbano says that the interns and volunteers are vital to the campaign’s success. Generally, the campaign would be canvassing in various neighborhoods throughout Orange County and San Diego. 

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, Levin’s staff is taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety and protection of the community, which includes no canvassing as to adhere to social distancing guidelines put out by the CDC. According to Urbano, this only makes phone banking more important. 

If you’re a person not into politics, I can tell you one thing: your employer is into politics, your school is into politics, your health insurance agency is into politics, and every other facet of your life. Not being involved personally is ridding yourself of the ability to sort of change your own world and determine your future. You limit the opportunities that you have”

— Urbano

“One of the most important important things that interns do is voter contact, whether it’s on the phones, whether it’s at the doors, whether they’re staffing events, etc. They’re responsibilities are multi-use and they can change depending on the day campaigns are sort of a seasonal thing and they’re fluid and dynamic. Everyday is different. I think more than anything they provide the backbone to the campaign, and their most important work that they do is voter outreach, voter engagement, and then just spreading the word name recognition,” said Urbano. 

To maximize its voter contact, the campaign is currently looking for more interns, who are interested in campaign work and would be able to take on various responsibilities, including but not limited to making phone calls and dropping off Mike Levin yard signs to supporters in Orange County. 

“A typical week looks different for every intern, depending on the intern’s needs. For me, a typical week would consist of phone banking, dropping off lawn signs, and/or reaching out to organizations through email. While I aim for around 10 hours a week, sometimes I do more and sometimes I do less!” said Tatum Handel, an intern from San Clemente High School. 

Many people avoid the political conversation altogether, claiming that politics are irrelevant or insignificant in the larger scheme of life. But Urbano disagrees with this statement. 

“The ability to say that politics doesn’t impact them is a privilege that a lot of people take for granted. Regardless of where you are on the socio-economic spectrum or class politics impacts you in a way that a lot of us don’t understand. If you’re a person not into politics, I can tell you one thing: your employer is into politics, your school is into politics, your health insurance agency is into politics, and every other facet of your life. Not being involved personally is ridding yourself of the ability to sort of change your own world and determine your future. You limit the opportunities that you have,” said Urbano. For students interested in interning at the Mike Levin campaign, please fill out the Google Form here.