If more young people than usual vote in the upcoming midterm election on Nov. 6, this country will be a very different place, congressional candidate Mike Siegel said. The Democrat and Austin native vying to become the District 10 U.S. Representative said he wants students to know their votes matter.
“The whole United States of America is counting on UT students to get out and vote,” Siegel said. “And I’m not exaggerating. Young people, in particular UT students … have the ability to flip congressional districts, flip a senate seat, flip statewide seats in Texas, which will impact this whole country.”
One of the ways Siegel plans to mobilize young voters in support of his own campaign is by promoting a background he said is attractive to students.
“I have a pretty progressive platform that resonates well with students,” Siegel said. “When I’ve been on UT’s campus, one of the most important things I’ve done that’s resonated with student voters is my work as a city attorney at the City of Austin to oppose Senate Bill 4, which was the anti-immigrant law passed by Republicans last year. I was the lead attorney for the City of Austin suing the governor to stop that law.”
Siegel also said he wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 to make sure working students and those coming out of college can pay their bills and lead a sustainable lifestyle.
“I want to increase the $7.25 minimum wage to a living wage, which in Austin would be $15 or more,” Siegel said. “That’s going to guarantee that if you have one job and you work full-time, that you should be able to survive.”
Siegel is in agreement on the issue of minimum wage with Austin’s government, which pays regular city employees $15 an hour. Starting next February, temporary city employees will also begin making $15 an hour.
Most notably, Siegel is competing in a district that hasn’t voted for a Democrat since its boundaries changed in 2005. Siegel said he plans to win by following a similar strategy to U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke.
“It’s about showing up,” Siegel said. “In the same way that Beto is showing up in all 254 counties, we’re showing up in a major way in all nine counties (of District 10).”