Celebrating Our Alumni Who Ran for Office

Nov 09 2020
Cecilia Elena Rouse, Dean

If you’re anything like me, you’ve likely spent the past week glued to news coverage of the 2020 elections. We witnessed one of the most historic presidential elections in history, all against the backdrop of Covid-19. A record number of American citizens voted, either in person or by mail, which left me feeling personally optimistic and hopeful for our collective future.

I also watched closely as a number of our SPIA alumni ran for office this year. To me, they embody Princeton’s informal motto: In Service to the Nation and Humanity. Many of these were close races. I am proud of each of them and wanted to spotlight these alumni and their dedication to the public good in this post.

  • Christina Henderson MPA ’12 ran and won a D.C. Council seat. You can read more about her in this #Changemakers Q&A.
  • Rep. Ricky Hurtado MPA ’15 won his race against an incumbent representative for North Carolina’s 63rd District, making him the first Latino Democrat in the North Carolina legislature.
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) MPA ’82 was re-elected to serve Oregon. He’s now spent 11 years in this role.
  • Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) ’86 was re-elected as U.S. Representative for Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. She shared fond memories of her time at Princeton in her #Changemakers Q&A.
  • Zach Zappone MPA ’19 ran for Washington State Representative in the 6th Legislative District. Though he lost, it was the closest race in Eastern Washington. 

It’s also worth noting that last year, Eric Johnson MPA ’03 ran and won Mayor of Dallas, Texas, and Indya Kincannon MPA-URP ’99 ran and won Mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee.

As I often say: Our alumni leave Princeton and go on to do powerful things. I look forward to seeing the influence these leaders will have in their communities in the months and years ahead!