The Big Picture

The Big Picture

photo by Patrick O'Connor

All WPI students do homework. But only Andy Edwards does House work, too.

One of the nation’s youngest elected public officials, 20-year-old Andrew J. Edwards ’09 is serving his first twoyear term as a state representative. Last year, as a freshman, he served in the WPI Student Senate. Now this biochemistry major is a freshman Democrat in the New Hampshire State House, where he sits on the Science, Technology, and Energy Committee and the E-commerce Advisory Commission.

“I am astounded at how the other representatives regard me, often one-third their age, as an equal,” Edwards says. “I receive no less respect. I’m listened to. Some of my fellow students feel that young people have no voice in public affairs. Well, that depends on how active you’re willing to be.”

In 2006, after deciding he wanted to do more than just volunteer for a campaign, he paid the $2 filing fee to run for the House of Representatives, and saved $500 to seed his campaign by working the 3rd shift as a circuit board laminator at a local electronics plant.

Emphasizing the E of Edwards, his platform included education, economy, and environment. “I also highlighted my values, which I organized as A, E, I, O, and U: Accountability, Equality, Investment, Opportunity, and Unity.” It worked. Running as one of 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, he won one of 10 seats.

Essentially, the part-time legislature convenes when Edwards isn’t on campus. His constituents reach him on his cell phone and by email. “My parents were flabbergasted when I told them my plans, but they didn’t worry because they believed it was unlikely I would be elected,” he remembers. “Now they’re truly glad for me.”

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