Peter Costa ’12 pursues post-Davidson political career
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:03
Peter Costa ’12, having finished the courses for his political science major last fall, is undertaking an unusual post-Davidson career path. Costa is running for the District 67 House seat in the Rhode Island General Assembly, which includes Warren, R.I., and his hometown, Barrington, R.I. Running as a Republican candidate, he will begin fundraising next month and will be going door to door starting July 5. The election is on nationwide Election Day, Nov. 6.
“The hands-on, real world experience of serving my state was the main reason why I decided to run for the state legislature,” Costa said. Since the legislative position is part time, Costa intends to enroll in law school simultaneously.
“Going to Washington, D.C. after college to work for a think tank or work for a congressman would have been a great opportunity,” he added, “but the opportunity to work with 10,000 of my neighbors, friends and constituents to come up with common sense solutions to the array of issues facing Rhode Island was an opportunity I could not pass up.”
In elaborating on his motivation to run, Costa cited Rhode Island’s 11% unemployment rate, bankruptcy among Rhode Island municipalities, debt among the nation’s college graduates and lack of “key structural components for a sound 21st century economy,” including “a private sector that is not vibrant.”
“The major issues in my district are rising costs for goods and services and secondary school education,” Costa said. “My father was on the town council in the early 1990’s, and my mother is the Barrington High School librarian. Their service to the town has given me unique exposure to the issues that we face today.”
“At Davidson College, I learned that civic leadership is about bringing diverse people together, supporting each other and working for the greater good,” he said. “Upon graduation, we all will take the abilities we learned at Davidson and apply them to our various professions and communities all over the world.”
While at Davidson, Costa studied political science with guidance from Drs. Pat Sellers and Susan Roberts in particular. He added that “The Davidson faculty has been very encouraging of my campaign. Sometimes on our campus it is hard to believe that there is life outside of the four walls of Chambers but that was not the case with Dr. Levering, Dr. McMillen and Dr. Wills, who were all supportive of the campaign I was trying to launch last semester.”
In addition to drawing inspiration from faculty, Costa spoke to Bill Ferguson ’05, who now represents part of Baltimore in the Maryland Senate after unseating a six-term incumbent in the Democratic primary. Costa also spoke to J.D. Merrill ’13, who worked with Ferguson’s campaign, adding that “there are several good political minds on our campus, some Democrats, some Republicans.”
Owing to the small size of Rhode Island, Costa’s district would have roughly 14,000 constituents, many of whom he grew up with as a friend and neighbor.
“The process so far has been a great learning experience,” he said. “I have a very helpful town committee working with me on the campaign. We have been in talks since last August, and I am hopeful that our hard work will bear fruit in November.” “Our right to vote is a staple in a democracy, and everyone who is eligible should register and vote at their home precinct or vote through an absentee ballot,” he added. Voter turnout is lowest among the youngest age group, including college students. Peter can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @costa_peter.