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Ridgewood College Student Preps For Democratic Presidential Debate

Ridgewood native Ashling Stanek is a member of the Kevin Harrington Student Ambassador program at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Photo Credit: Submitted
Ridgefield resident Ashling Stanek with Jeb Bush. Photo Credit: Submitted

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- When Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and the other Democrats face off for the ABC Presidential Primary Debate on Saturday, Dec.19, 20-year-old Ridgewood resident Ashling Stanek will be an eyewitness and participant.

As a member of the Kevin Harrington Student Ambassador program at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) in Manchester, NH, the host to the debate, Stanek is slotted to be on hand to help the candidates and ABC with logistics and more.

As a junior, Stanek has already had a number of brushes with well-known political and media figures via political activities hosted by the NHIOP, including speeches, forums and debates. The Institute has been holding these events for decades and is a regular stomping ground for anyone running for the highest office in the U.S.

“One of my personal favorites was when Donald Trump came to campus in January of 2014,” said Stanek, a politics and philosophy major. “I was a freshman. He was making a speech. When he concluded, he took some time to greet guests. A classmate pushed me up in front of him and told him I was from New Jersey. He gave my arm a squeeze and asked me what I thought about the state's 'Bridgegate scandal.' I told him, jokingly, that he should move across the bridge and run against Governor Christie. Now, with the two of them running for the Republican nomination for president, I like to claim I gave Trump the idea.”

Stanek credits Saint Anselm College for her love of both politics and the media.

“This experience has been life changing for me," she told Daily Voice. "When I first arrived at Saint A’s, I had intentions of becoming a lawyer. Through the Student Ambassadors program, I began to see there was a so much more to politics than a bunch of people arguing about budgets

"I was captivated by the media. I've always been a hustle and bustle kind of person. I never actually considered a career that would have the same kind of atmosphere until now.”

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