Student Government President Runs for 49th District Representative


Brendan Garay, a grad student at Cal U who currently serves as the student government president, spoke at the Natali Student Center Rededication Ceremony back in September. Now, he is running for a 49th district representative.

Mari Boyle, Cal Times Contributor

  California University of Pennsylvania own Student Government President has announced his candidacy to represent the 49th district of Pennsylvania in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives. After hearing that Representative Pete Daley would be retiring and there would be an open seat, Brendan Garay decided to shake up Pennsylvania politics. The average age for a member of Congress in Pennsylvania is about 55 and Brendan Garay is 23. Currently, Garay is attending California University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School working towards his MBA. For the past two years, Garay has served as Cal U’s Student Government President. Prior to college, Garay admits he has never had any serious political inclinations. Although he was registered to vote, Garay strayed from being heavily involved with politics growing up. However, after joining the Student Government Association at Cal U and also serving as its President, Garay has become much more aware of how the various decisions made by Pennslvania’s Congress not only affect Cal U, but the students it serves. The biggest motivation for Garay to run is the never-ending battle over the Pennsylvania State budget. As President, Garay was directly involved with handling the consequences from our legislators. Garay was disappointed that many students could not return to Cal U due to financial constraints. Garay’s frustration motivated him to take action and take the next step from Student Government President to the House of Representatives.

  Garay has some shocking similarities to Representative Pete Daley, who has represented the 49th district for thirty two years. Both attended California University of Pennsylvania as undergraduates and graduate students, both served as the Student Government President while attending, and both entered politics at a relatively young age. In fact, Daley was 22 when he first was elected mayor of California Borough. Although many will see Garay’s age as a sign of caution or possible flaw, Garay does not see it that way. Garay believes that his age will help diversify Congress and better represent the millennial generation of Pennsylvania by bringing personal experience to the house. Garay hopes to bring fresh, new ideas, change the status quo of career politicians, and encourage the finding of resolutions. These hopes are supported by his experience with Student Government, integral role in club hockey, and history of getting things done despite personalities.

   Assisting Garay on this new and challenging journey is friend and Cal U alumnus, Dan Carmichael, as well as the Director of the Office for Students with Disabilities and former Student Government President, Bob Mehalik. Garay is also supported by close friends and the Cal U community, including help from a Cal U club, Cal Campaign Consultants. Dan Carmichael says the sole focus right now is getting Garay’s name out there and getting petitions signed. Currently, the Garay campaign needs around 300-500 signatures in order to get Garay’s name on the ballot for the primary election. This has admittedly been potentially the biggest challenge of the campaign. However, Carmichael says that due to Garay’s age and diverse ideas, the campaign will ultimately be successful regardless of if Garay wins because it will shine a light on the idea of greater millennial representation.