SIPA Student Runs for Congress

Graduating SIPA student Estakio Beltran to run for Congress in Washington State’s 4th Congressional District  By Tamara El Waylly Like most second-years, SIPA student Estakio Beltran (MPA ’14) is thinking about life after graduation. “We’re all looking for a job,” said Beltran. “It just so happens [that mine is] running for Congress.” Running as a Democrat for Washington State’s 4th Congressional District, Beltran says the idea came to him upon hearing of the retirement of Richard “Doc” Hastings, the current Republican Washington State Congressman. “It wasn’t something I was planning,” Beltran said. “I had committed myself to public service. But public office was a totally different thing. For me, it was like a response to that call to service.” Beltran grew up in foster care, moving through multiple houses, until senior year of high school. “It was tough,” he said, highlighting that he got through the hard circumstances due to the support of the community. Previous to coming to SIPA, he worked for Washington Senator Maria Cantwell and as a senior policy adviser for California Congressman Dennis Cardoza. Beltran believes that he has enough relevant experience, despite being 30-years-old (the minimum age for congressional candidates in Washington State is 25-years-old). “If anything, I’m five years late.” SIPA courses and the diverse student community have also helped to prepare him for this role, Beltran said. He said SIPA provided him with the toolkit that allowed him to believe running for Congress “really is possible. I am ready.” At SIPA, he was also a part of the SIPASA board, but resigned, so he could “focus on [his] studies.” Past SIPASA board members could not confirm or deny his comments. The Office of Student Affairs also declined to comment on his resignation due to confidentiality restraints. While Beltran has been in full campaign mode, he insists that he is handling his SIPA courses and being on the road without major problems. “If you’re running for a position to be in Congress, you better be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Beltran said. “How am I going to handle Congress and real work? I can multitask,” he said. While other second-year students are anxiously trying to land a job, Beltran has his hands full. “This is the only job that I’m [currently] applying for.” Tamara El Waylly is a first-year Master of International Affairs student. This story first ran in the print edition of The Morningside Post on May 6, 2014.

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