An election for newcomers

February 16, 2016

Alisha Raby Cefalo, a student at North Shore Community College, is volunteering in her first presidential campaign.


LYNN — The 2016 presidential election is attracting political newcomers, both as candidates and voters.

The surge of political newcomers, on both sides of the aisle, has made an already interesting race even more intriguing, with many voters claiming they speak for them.

Alisha Raby Cefalo, of Lynn, an environmental horticulture student at North Shore Community College, says Sen. Bernie Sanders is the first political candidate she has ever campaigned for.

“I’ve been campaigning for him since November,” Raby Cefalo said. “But, I’ve known about him for a few years.”

Raby Cefalo described herself as apathetic towards politics, until she started campaigning for Sen. Sanders in November.

During the New Hampshire primary, she made the trek to Kingston, N.H. and helped canvas for Sen. Sanders.

Raby Cefalo is just one of millions across the country who has started to become involved in politics.

First-time voters, and voters who are typically not as engaged, are making their voices heard on both sides of the aisle.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump is surging in polls, for what many pundits believe is his embrace of voters who feel that previous candidates alienated them. Democrats are attracted to Sen. Sanders’ rallying cry of getting money out of politics, and tackling the student debt crisis.

As the election season rolls on, more and more political neophytes will aim to make their voices heard, like Raby Cefalo.

The NSCC student, although not politically active until this year, has been involved on campus for quite some time.

She is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and a senator in the Student Government Association. Raby Cefalo even started a book swap for students, allowing them to find textbooks for free and saving them hundreds of dollars.

The student feedback she received from the book swap helped her realize the role that public servants play.

Students came to her and told her that the money they saved on textbooks allowed them to pay their rent, or eat for that week, said Raby Cefalo.

“I gained nothing from that book swap,” said Raby Cefalo.

Raby Cefalo said she did it for her fellow students to help them, and she believes that is why Sen. Sanders wants to help Americans.

Gabe Martinez can be reached at