From his Star-Spangled Banner ringtone to his blue dress shirt and tie, Binghamton University student Anthony Galli has no qualms about displaying his passion for politics and the thrill of the campaign — an interest that has led him to work for several local politicians and now to launch his own campaign for Broome County Legislator.
“I just — I love it,” said Galli, a junior majoring in political science. “I feel like it’s in my DNA.”
Galli is challenging the incumbent, Democrat Daniel D. Reynolds, for the newly redrawn 4th Legistlative District seat, a district Galli says spans roughly “from UP to Wal-Mart.” This is the first year BU’s campus is united under one legislative district.
Galli is running on both the Republican and Student Voice Party lines, the latter of which he created to better represent students.
Equipped with just his folding table, easel and toolbox, Galli held 15 drives this fall on campus that got roughly 500 students registered to vote in local elections.
“I call them ‘guerilla voter registration drives,’” said Galli, a proponent of voting from a young age. “Otherwise, we’ll just be overlooked. We’ll be ignored. But when we hold a real political block, then they start to care and listen.”
Galli said that voting in college will encourage voters to remain politically active.
“Voting is a habit,” he said. “Basically, the earlier you vote the more likely you are to keep voting consistently.”
The Broome County GOP first contacted Galli asking him to run for the position over the summer, following an internship with New York State Senator Tom Libous that Galli began last semester.
“I was taken by surprise,” Galli said. “I just got an email about it … and I was like, ‘Yes, I’d love to.’”
The election preparation for Galli and his party began immediately. His campaign is sponsored by the Broome County GOP, but a group of over 20 student volunteers help Galli hand out fliers, talk to constituents and organize campaign events.
“We started planning the campaign in the summer and the first thing we did was we went door-to-door in the area getting signatures to create the student party line, so that helps us branch out of the Republican-Democrat fold,” Galli said. “I don’t want to be boxed into that.”
Galli estimates he has visited roughly 1,000 Vestal homes to hand out fliers and door hangers supporting his campaign. He makes “robo-calls,” pre-recorded messages sent to people’s telephones, as well as personal phone calls.
Galli said reactions to his campaign have been met with enthusiasm by Vestal residents.
“People are very excited to see a new face, a young face,” Galli said. “That’s one of the most common compliments I get.”
If elected, he plans to continue his door-to-door visits on off-years to keep in touch with constituent needs, something Galli feels his opponent Reynolds has not done.
“Most people, [when] I knock on their door, don’t even know his name,” Galli said. “I’ll be a presence for people, not just coming to get their vote and disappearing.”
Galli’s political platform centers on getting students more invested in Binghamton so they stay in the area after graduation, which he plans to do through job creation.
“I would really like to work with the University and their implementation of the SUNY2020 plan, which includes creating a job incubator Downtown,” Galli said. “I’d like to get the county backing that and helping out with the implementation of that as much as possible.”
He also plans to establish a department dedicated to hearing student concerns.
“I’d like to create a student services office, and that would be a one-stop shop for students to bring any issues at the University, county or state level,” Galli said.
Galli said he would like to run things more efficiently at the county level and give more control to town governments.
“I’m a big fan of bottom-up government,” Galli said. “If there’s one reason that makes me Republican, it would be that.”
He said that, if elected, he would vote against tax increases.
“I think we should hold the line on taxes,” Galli said. “They’ve increased by 30 percent over the last 10 years, and I know that people’s paychecks haven’t increased by 30 percent.”
Galli said he would make student representation his priority.
“It’s really not about Republican or Democrat,” Galli said. “It’s really being a representative for this campus, which I think it currently lacks right now.”
Galli has served as president of Mohawk Hall, president of the freshman class, a Student Association representative and a resident assistant in Broome Hall. He has led a number of political campaigns on campus, but admits that many have not been successful.
“I would say that I have ran a lot of campaigns in my college career,” he said. “I’ve lost the last six of them, but I’ve learned so much doing it. Being in all of these elections, and being in these roles, I’ve learned things like the importance of going to student group meetings and putting yourself out there.”
Salvatore Rametta, another Broome RA, said Galli’s personality makes him a good choice for County Legislator.
“I have known Galli for two years now, and I know for a fact that this is what he’s meant to do,” said Rametta, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience. “Anyone who knows him knows that he is 100 percent dedicated to getting involved and making a difference. He can’t see himself doing anything else, and that kind of dedication is really important.”
Rametta said he is optimistic about Galli’s chance of beating Reynolds in the election.
“I honestly believe he that he has a pretty good shot,” said Rametta, who briefly met Reynolds at an on-campus event to talk about connecting students with the community.
“In my brief experience with [Reynolds], he seems to have really lost touch with what his constituents need,” Rametta said. “He is not really understanding what he is going to need to do to win, whereas Anthony has really stepped it up.”
Rametta said if Galli wins, it would show students the potential they have to influence local politics.
“Most people have this idea that students are unable to contribute because they dismiss us as being less mature or unable to approach a challenge critically, but I honestly think that we have a really good opportunity to here to enact some positive change and I think that Anthony Galli is definitely the man to do it,” Rametta said.
Galli, who decided in 10th grade that he wanted to come to BU, hopes he can gain his fellow students’ support in the Nov. 6 election.
“The happiest day of my life was the day that I got accepted to BU,” Galli said. “I’m hoping on November 6th I can get that second acceptance letter from all the students.”