Seton Hill Seniors Heavily Involved in Local, National Political Campaigns
Senior Brian Blasko of North Huntingdon, Pa. is running for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 56th legislative district as an Independent against incumbent Democrat James E. Casorio and Republican Joel Reiter. A dean’s list student studying history, political science and social studies education, Blasko is also a multi-sport athlete, playing both soccer and lacrosse, and a public policy intern with Seton Hill University president Dr. JoAnne Boyle.
“I want to be a person that truly makes a difference,” says Blasko, explaining why he chose to run for office. “Too many candidates are in office doing nothing for the state and community. We need real leaders who are not going to make a career in the legislature.”
Citing education, property tax relief and health care as his top three campaign issues, Blasko says that he is “asking people to stray away from voting their party affiliation and vote for the best candidate … we need to get away from a two-party system and encourage more citizens to become involved in their government.”
While Blasko says he’s run 90% of his campaign on his own, he credits a few current Seton Hill students (including his fellow public policy interns) and recent graduates for providing critical assistance in the past few months. He states that only “very good time management” has allowed him to run a campaign while keeping up with a rigorous academic schedule.
“My academics always come first,” Blasko says. “I have to work long days and nights often, including weekends… but in the end, nothing is difficult for those with the will to succeed.”
Seniors Michael Rubino (of Monaca, Pa.) and Karissa Kilgore (of North Apollo, Pa.), both members of the Seton Hill College Republicans, became new media stars in the Santorum campaign as a result of their writing work on the Seton Hill University College Republicans blog.
“I had been volunteering for the [Santorum] campaign since last winter, doing more of the new media side of things,” said Rubino. “At the State College Republicans conference last spring we met the head of Santorum’s New Media and Political Technology department, who was impressed with our SHU College Republican blog.”
As a result of that meeting, Kilgore became a New Media intern with the campaign. She was subsequently chosen to serve as one of the hosts, along with Rubino (who continued to work for the campaign as part of his internship with a Pittsburgh design firm) of a series of campaign videoblogs on Santorum’s site. Some of the videoblogs were filmed in a studio, others were filmed on site at campaign events. In addition, both students filmed campaign commercials. Rubino’s commercial is currently airing on MTV; Kilgore’s has yet to be released.
Rubino, a dean’s list student studying art and graphic design, relied on theatre experience and years of performing as a member of the local comedy troupe, the Cellar Dwellers, to help him in front of the cameras. Karissa, also a dean’s list student and an English literature major, found having a camera pointed at her “a little unnerving” even with pageant and modeling experience to fall back on. “We were both flattered,” she says, “when the director told us how professional we were.”
Currently, both students are continuing work with the College Republicans on various campaigns, and plan to be, according to Chairman Rubino “heavily involved in the 72 Hour Task Force that the GOP is organizing for the days leading up to the Election.”
Seton Hill University, founded by the Sisters of Charity, is a coeducational Catholic liberal arts university in Greensburg, Pa. Chartered in 1918, Seton Hill offers more than 30 undergraduate programs and nine graduate programs, including an MBA. Seton Hill brings the world to its students through its distinguished lecturers and nationally and internationally renowned centers. Recognized three times by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the nation’s Top 100 Entrepreneurial Universities, Seton Hill has also been named one of the Best in the Northeast by The Princeton Review and one of Pennsylvania’s Top 100 Businesses by Pennsylvania Business Central. In addition, Seton Hill has been named a University of Distinction by Colleges of Distinction, an organization founded by a group of concerned parents, educators and admissions professionals. For more information on Seton Hill please visit www.setonhill.edu or call 1-800-826-6234.
Becca Baker, Associate Director of Media Relations
724-830-1069 / 724-689-3599 (cell) / firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to media: All three Seton Hill students mentioned here are willing to be interviewed on this topic. Please contact Becca Baker for contact information.